I've read several things today about Silence. The silence we offer others and the silence that is required of us by others or ourselves. Something in me knows this is important. It hasn't quite coalesced but I thought maybe writing would help it come together. After reading two writings about silence, the title quote was in my inbox. Again. Somehow they all come together.
We are so afraid of reaching out and connecting with others, known or unknown. As a culture we seem to have perfected the art of seeming to connect without actually having to do it. I fear it's getting worse. I know, as an introvert, I welcome blogs, email, facebook, etc as a means of connection without having to put out the energy required to be present face to face. I dithered for several hours last night about going to a party, dithered until it was too late and the choice was made for me. I should have gone, I needed the connection, but it made me tired to think about it. This morning I regret it. A dearly loved friend reached out to me yesterday after several years of not connecting. Another called to ask if I wanted to get together. My uncle sent another message reminding me to consider applying to the Peace Corp. I finished my home visit, opening my life up to being present for a dog needing safe harbor. Every day there are so many opportunities to be truly present, it's kind of overwhelming. I find myself withdrawing to the safety of solitude. And yet what has saved me over and over in this process is connection and speaking some of my truth.
I think of all the silence I have kept around my life. Writing about this grief process has been one of the first truth tellings I have ever done. And it brings me peace, comfort, connection. I have been told that it does the same for others. It has opened a door for connection that would have never happened otherwise. I find myself wondering what would happen if I broke silence more often? What if I broke silence and told some of the other stories? The secrets I keep because of fear, shame, tiredness, wanting that part of me to be done and in the past?
Connection through breaking silence, even if it is simply by making eye contact and offering a smile to a stranger, seems to be what saves us. Over and over again. I am grateful for the world we live in that allows breaking silence in the relative safety of technology, but I worry about that ease and safety as well. I see us shying away from eye contact, touch, concrete reality. In the end I think that is what saves us. Looking into anothers eyes, pulling their arm through mine as I say, "Come on, let's walk together for awhile." We are all just walking each other home.