Can any noise be as loud as silence? This hollow gap screaming to be filled, the static ringing in our ears, the expectation knocking at our door, the echo of fear marching in our soul? Unforgivingly sharp, silence speaks the truth.
Sometimes it does it loud and clear but not always. It may come in hisses, subtle little symbols, hieroglyphs hard to decipher but still it’s the silence that speaks the truth – and often in the harshest possible way. May we comprehend it or not.
And maybe this is the reason why silence is so hard to stand. Why we feel the urge to break it, to fill it even if we don’t really know with what. And maybe one of the greatest challenges is to learn to listen to it.
Silence has many faces.
Sometimes we are too afraid to say something or we simply lack words or knowledge or understanding or all of it. Other times remaining silent is a way of lieing by omission. And sometimes we even fall silent to deny someone the acknowledgement of her or his existence. Or even how much this person means to us.
Whatever our reasons, we might think it’s best to hold our tongue, that it’s less hurtful because the truth has the abillity to destroy. And it has. But will what we don’t say stay buried? Is it clerverness to keep quiet? Or rather cowardice?
Maybe I’m too carved by German history for this, and you are free to hold this against me. But I can’t be who I’m not: I believe that truth must be told (especially in these political times we live in). It must be told in wisely chosen words that make truth less hurtful so that the other one won’t loose face and is given enough room to watch it, examine it, think it over, taste and digest it, change perspective and maybe even sides so that something good comes out of it in the end.
Truth is a force and a weapon. It’s in our hands to use it to make the world a better place, to help people think and grow. To make peace.
I believe in using the truth to make things better not worse and to clear things up. I believe in the importance of having respect for each other, and to me this includes speaking out and not turning away in silence. Nothing good comes from isolating someone, and isn’t denying conversation just another form of isolation?
And then, let’s not forget, in moments of perfect silence isn’t it our inner demons that scare us with some unwanted truth about ourselves? If we can face those and be gentle and kind with us I think we are on a good way to being honest and kind with everyone else. And able to bear the spoken truth.
Breaking the silence is breaking the chains. It’s an act of achieving freedom.
Breaking the chains enables us to meet each other without reserve. It gives way to freedom, respect and love. And so it ends hate and lies.