Susan’s Thursday morning note November 20, 2014 The power of silence. Quotes on silence. Being present in friendships.
Good morning! Quiet sun this morning entering the world in orange pajamas. Taking sweet time to uncover and enter the scene. The angel of dawn again at my door handing me another gift of today. This week a friend encouraged me to read an essay The Power of Presence by Debbie Hall, a pediatric psychologist. Following her description of importance of “being” with another are quotes on being present in friendships and the power of silence when words are impossible to convey thought. On not having to have a voice.
Presence is a noun, not a verb; it is a state of being or doing. States of being are not highly valued in a culture that places a high priority on doing. Yet, true presence or “being with” another person carries with it a silt power – to bear witness to a passage, to help carry an emotional burden, or to begin a healing process. In it, there is an intimate connection with another that is perhaps too seldom felt in a society that strives for ever-faster “connectivity.”
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…We need silence to be able to touch souls. Mother Teresa
This love is silent. T.S. Eliot
The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing…not healing, not curing…that is the friend who cares. Henri Nouwen
Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates an impression by remaining silent. Dalai Lama
What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined – to strengthen each other – to be at one with each other in silent unspeakable memories. George Eliot
Be slow to speak, and only after having first listened quietly, so that you may understand the meaning, leanings, and wishes of those who do speak. Thus you will better know when to speak and when to be silent. Saint Ignatius
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered. “Yes, Piglet?” “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.” A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Are you upset little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don’t worry…I’m here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you. Charles Schulz
True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable. Dave Tyson Gentry
The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend. Henry David Thoreau
Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don’t say. Anonymous
“Silence” by Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950)
I have known the silence of the stars and of the sea,
And the silence of the city when it pauses,
And the silence of a man and a maid,
And the silence of the sick
When their eyes roam about the room.
And I ask: For the depths,
Of what use is language?
A beast of the field moans a few times
When death takes its young.
And we are voiceless in the presence of realities —
We cannot speak.
A curious boy asks an old soldier
Sitting in front of the grocery store,
“How did you lose your leg?”
And the old soldier is struck with silence,
Or his mind flies away
Because he cannot concentrate it on Gettysburg.
It comes back jocosely
And he says, “A bear bit it off.”
And the boy wonders, while the old soldier
Dumbly, feebly lives over
The flashes of guns, the thunder of cannon,
The shrieks of the slain,
And himself lying on the ground,
And the hospital surgeons, the knives,
And the long days in bed.
But if he could describe it all
He would be an artist.
But if he were an artist there would be deeper wounds
Which he could not describe.
There is the silence of a great hatred,
And the silence of a great love,
And the silence of an embittered friendship.
There is the silence of a spiritual crisis,
Through which your soul, exquisitely tortured,
Comes with visions not to be uttered
Into a realm of higher life.
There is the silence of defeat.
There is the silence of those unjustly punished;
And the silence of the dying whose hand
Suddenly grips yours.
There is the silence between father and son,
When the father cannot explain his life,
Even though he be misunderstood for it.
There is the silence that comes between husband and wife.
There is the silence of those who have failed;
And the vast silence that covers
Broken nations and vanquished leaders.
There is the silence of Lincoln,
Thinking of the poverty of his youth.
And the silence of Napoleon
And the silence of Jeanne d’Arc
Saying amid the flames, “Blessed Jesus” —
Revealing in two words all sorrows, all hope.
And there is the silence of age,
Too full of wisdom for the tongue to utter it
In words intelligible to those who have not lived
The great range of life.
And there is the silence of the dead.
If we who are in life cannot speak
Of profound experiences,
Why do you marvel that the dead
Do not tell you of death?
Their silence shall be interpreted
As we approach them.
Today. Our gift again from our angel of dawn. Moments passing through our hourglass. One grain at a time passes. Will we notice any particular grains as they pass? Will we realize that at times only silence will make the moment worthy of existence? Will we realize that the presence of someone in our world is giving us the beauty of a particular moment in our world? Because of their silent presence? Will we realize the presence of those we don’t have tangibly in our world that are there? That are seeing us. That are part of who made us who we now are. Those who are behind the scenes. That know us. Know us in silence. Know us best when we are silent? Can we picture those that loved us in our past looking through a doorway silently at us? Silently, but with their powerful presence. Of just being. Of being part of our soul. Of being there to keep us seeing the beauty of each moment. Only a few in our lives will give us this gift. Presence. A noun. A powerful noun only attributed to a few in our lives. In the pictures in our mind. Who do you see in your mind as “present” – even if their presence was years ago, or only for a moment as they passed through our hourglass? The powerful gift of presence. Tonight we will again be given the chance to write in stone our epitaph for the moments about to be handed to us today. Beautiful moments. Will we notice them as they go past? Will we have a few that are worthy of inscription in stone? Will we be the one present for a friend? Present in their mind if not physically? Present in silence. Present. To just be. These are the gifts that go with this beautiful word called life.
Thank you for letting me enter your Thursday again today. Your world. Thank you for entering our store and for your friendships. No matter what our particular grains of sand are bringing us will we make a conscious effort to remember promises. The peace that passes the understanding of anyone in our world is promised to us. Look to the hills. Drop the foot to our knees. The promise of peace is only that distance away. Susan
Latin for this week – Quies Quietis – quiet, rest, peace Placidus – quiet, still, gentle Magna res est vocis et silentii temperamentum - The great thing is to know when to speak and when to keep quiet. Fidus Achates – faithful friend