Learning about silence the hard way proved to be the most effective way to hit home with the reality that words do not always save the day.
Growing up with writing, I used this tool in the best and the worst of situations – from writing “thank you” cards, birthday messages, to explaining a fault and defending myself, to apologies. Stationery pads and a pen were my closest friends and deadliest weapons which led me to automatically retreat into writing whatever situation I faced even when it was not apt.
There was always my excuse that “writing” was an act as much as it was words; I was doing by writing. What I missed out on was the fact that while writing was in fact an action, writing down other actions such as “forgiving,” or “helping,” or “changing for the better” was not excusable. It was a worthless gesture no matter how sincere the message was, and this was exactly what I had learned just last week.
In the heat of it all, I refused to give into the truth of the matter, and so I started building up a speech worthy of a Humanitarian Conference. I mean no offense at all, please excuse the reference. All I’m saying is that I built a tower of cards. I thought it would be everything I thought it to be, but it held no weight. In the attempt to save myself, the gesture recoiled on me with stark white silence. Since I did not recognize the gesture as anything else but ignorance, I fought harder and strewn all over the walls of my mind were words – more dead weight.
In the end of it all I had learned something new: silence is never just one thing. Silence means you must listen, and you must look at things differently because with all the noise around you, there is nothing to focus on. Simply, I was running senselessly without direction, throwing tantrums because I was “misunderstood,” but on the contrary I was the one having trouble understanding.
It is still a struggle for me to sit still and keep silent because it is unfamiliar territory for me. Being uprooted from my ultimate comfort zone humbles me because I have no say in anything at the moment. I restrict myself from the privilege of explaining myself, and the feeling is like a thorn being slowly pulled out from my side. Absolutely gut-wrenching, painful, and at the moment incomprehensible.
This phase is necessary because I want to be a better person, a better friend. I refuse to feel privileged because I think my words are my “Get Out of Jail Free” card that I can use whenever I please. I want to understand the way other people recuperate, and I don’t want to be the salt to their wound, but instead a healing agent.