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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Silence

I realized something today. We are considered wrong when we are quiet. It is not until we speak that we are understood, and that is a sad, sad thing. From our first moment of life we are crying out for air and sound and the ability to create more disturbance. We are told to reach for the stars, upset the apple cart, forge a path - to make noise. We are told that we will never be understood if we are the strange, quiet kid who sits at a table by themselves and reads at lunch. Our parents balk at that possibility, and they are even more frightened by the idea that we would sit and read nothing, that we would sit in silence and simply stare off into space. That is torture to most people, because most people do not understand that we do not cease communication when we are quiet. So many of us, instead of listening, choose to formulate our next sentence, whether it connects to what we just "heard" or not. Very few people listen (myself included).

Even fewer people understand that silence is its own way of communicating. If you scream and swear at me, I cannot be certain you are angry. Or, rather, I can be certain you are angry, but only temporarily. But if you simply respond with silence? That is true fury, cold fury. If you write me poems and fall to your knees at my balcony to confess your love, I cannot be certain you love me. At least, I cannot be certain you love me forever. But if you smile and quietly grab my hand? That is certainty.

A person (who is probably my only reader) told me that she was disappointed by my lack of words on my trip to Guatemala. I guess I was just trying to communicate something powerful in the most powerful way that I know possible: silence.

Silence is humble. It does not cry out to be noticed. Rather, it waits for you to accept it on its own terms. True silence is a gift. The choice to stop speaking for a moment is the most glorious choice we've been given. Humans are only human because they can choose, and sometimes I choose to be silent.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.
-Michael

For the original Stronger Coffee, please visit: http://strongercoffee.tumblr.com
And just a side note: tumblr.com is down for the time being as I write this. The above post may or may not find its way onto the original blog. Thank you, as always, for reading!

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