by Kenneth Justice
~ “Kenneth, I just love the song The Sound of Silence” said my friend sitting with me at coffee the other day, he was referring to the Simon & Garfunkle hit from back in the day. I really like that song as well but even more so; I really enjoy the simple philosophy behind the title; ‘the sound of silence’…..of course we know that ‘silence’ is not a sound, but rather its the lack of sound.
I was thinking about that song the other day and it dawned on me; one of the reasons I love getting up so early in the morning is the silence….the quiet calm of early morning is refreshing in many ways and I find that I’m able to get more writing and more thinking done early in the morning.
I like sitting at the café when they first open. I’m usually the second or third person to arrive since the homeless people are also early risers; they too love coffee. I sit at my little table and write my articles or read whatever particular book is on my reading list for the week, I sip my coffee….and I enjoy the quiet.
So much of our lives here in the Western World are overwhelmed with noise and busyness;
—) Cell phones buzzing all around us
—) Automobiles pounding down the pavement
—) Bosses yelling at us to finish our work by the deadline
—) Taking care of crying babies or driving our children to soccer practice
Noise, busyness, rushing around…..our lives can be so hectic and fast-paced that it’s amazing that more of us don’t go nut’s from all the craziness. It’s no wonder that 70% of all Americans take some kind of prescription drug; with the fast paced nature of our lives we are probably overwhelming our senses and we turn to drugs in order to ‘chill out’.
When I used to sit with people I would get uncomfortable if an awkward pause occurred in the conversation; I somehow thought that it was my responsibility to keep the conversation moving and so I would try and think up something clever to say……..fortunately, my time working as a counselor helped teach me that silence can be a good thing. Sometimes it is a beautiful experience to be with another person in silence and to simply enjoy the view of the sun rise or to people-watch the various men and women walking by…..sometimes it is through silence that greater thoughts can be attained.
On Christmas Eve two nights ago I attended Midnight Mass which is one of my favorite services of the year; at various intervals during the liturgy the colossal ancient sanctuary becomes totally silent. Its an intense experience to be surrounded by hundreds of people while sitting in the 150 year old cathedral; in total silence. It becomes so quiet you can hear the slightest cough or the smallest scuffle of feet on the wooden floor…..and then when they turn all the lights out and everyone is handed a candle to hold during the singing of Silent Night its a pretty special moment.
Silence can be a beautiful experience two people share together……….and it can even be a special experience shared by hundreds of people on Christmas Eve.
My life is very hectic. To be honest, I have a lot of responsibilities and much of the time I feel as though I am behind on work and family obligations. I have quite a few friends and acquaintances so my schedule is often overflowing with appointments and people to see; my life is filled with a ton of busyness and noise………and so the older I get the more I am beginning to really value the sound of silence.
This morning I woke up at 5:30 A.M to find that it had snowed all night…..the world outside my house was entirely blanketed with a beautiful cover of white. As I walked my two dogs outside this morning I enjoyed the extra-special sound of silence. Snow has this way of making the world feel even quieter…..I’m not sure if it is merely something I imagine or if snow really does make things more quiet; but either way my two little dogs and I walked down the path in the snow and enjoyed the beauty of the moment.
Sometimes its important in the midst of our busy lives to enjoy the silence…to enjoy the beauty of the moment. If we aren’t careful, it is easy to allow the busyness of Western Culture overwhelm us. There are so many things in our society that can distract us from enjoying the moment; there are so many things that are screwed up that If we aren’t careful its easy to end up spending much of our life getting pissed off all the time; because there is a lot to be pissed of at;
—) The economy in much of the Western World sucks
—) Joblessness is rampant
—) A lot of people still live in poverty
—) There are still too many men out there who abuse women and treat them like s**t
The list of the world’s ills are endless…….and sometimes its important that we just take a moment and enjoy the sound of silence,
For now I will have another cup of coffee,
p.s. if you’re not too hung over from New Years Eve partying…come back to the blog on New Years Day for my big announcement!
Categories: Culture & Society