Friday, February 18, 2011

Silence is Golden

Everyday, or almost everyday, around 5ish I receive a telephone call from Peter. Thanks to caller ID, I know who is on the other end, so I generally start my conversation with a robust "Hi Peter" which is followed by silence. Thinking he did not hear my very enthusiastic greeting I repeat myself and add "are you there?" Of course, he is there and I quickly visualize that smile, that crunched up, eyes closed, lips upturned expression that has taken over not only his face, but his whole being. It is as if he is in Nirvana.
Now, I, not being accustomed to silence have this overwhelming need to fill the airways with my voice. I actually become a bit uncomfortable with these long pauses of empty airwaves. There is this need in me to have those filled, I just cannot stop myself. So while Peter is just soaking in the connection he has just made and is quite happy, I begin the chatter. 'Peter, what is new?"...nothing.."Peter, what did you do today?....idunknow...."Peter, did you have supper" "Peter, what did you eat for supper" Peter, what is everyone else doing?" "Peter"....I think you get the picture. My quickly fired off questions with the intent to spark a conversation is only answered in one maybe two syllable words which you may take your pick and are "idunknow, yes, no, or nothing". Of course, does that stop me from pursuing my need to have answers, my need to know. Nope! Of course, not! Why, I am the master of open ended question or so I think, so I start the dialogue again.
Why Peter, you know what you did at work today, I give hints, and yes I do finally with much coaxing get an answer which I already know will consist of Pledge, gloves or triggers. I also know that any further inquiry will only start the idunknow cycle again, so I move onto a dinner conversation or what are you doing tonight.
So this ten minute conversation to me evokes this feeling of work, of effort, of pulling the words or thoughts from Peter's brain to his tongue so that I can feel we have accomplished some sort of task or meaningful conversation.
Recently, the thought crossed my mind, and why it has taken me so long, so many conversations, so many years to understand this concept, I do not know as I really think I am an intuitive type person. My realization is that Peter, is absolutely fine with silence. Peter is just happy to be sitting on the phone with me. He does not need words to connect, he already made the connection at "Hi Peter". Why he is still scrunching and smiling, and wringing his hands, because he is just so happy to be. I on the other hand have this need to fill the space, that quiet.
Based on my new found realization, I have now resolved that when I pick up that phone, I will leave space, silent, no talking space. I will sit and take in the silence. Now, this is a monumental task for someone who has a need, a need to fill the quiet, a need to speak. But I am trying, fidgeting, feeling quite uncomfortable, but working really hard on the nonverbal part. is precious, the unspoken. The feeling of just being, enjoying the moment, the sounds and feelings that one absorbs during those unspoken moments. It is golden, and I do believe Peter has just reminded me of something very valuable. The peace, the lessons, the love that fills the silence.

1 comment:

  1. I have learned to just have skype going while I do other things...and he loves it.