Silence is…enlightenment

Well, now’s your chance. If there’s anything, anything at all you want to say to me (or about me), this is your big opportunity. Say it, and I won’t answer back. Promise. Not one word, not even a syllable. Even if I had an entire head full of come-backs, you wouldn’t hear a peep. So, go ahead, I’m waiting…

This weekend I was struck with one of my semi-annual voice-stealer colds. Seems just about every fall and spring I get one of those vocal-chord embracing, throat impacting, infuriating viruses that render me completely unable to talk. I end up, literally, being a bag of hot air.

While my family smothers me with care and concern over my affliction, I think secretly they’re praising God for the blessed silence around the house. No more stupid jokes. No more obnoxious singing of old Monkeys hits. No more sickening 60s commercial jingles. No more nagging, cautioning, ordering, or pleading. Just plain quiet. Oh, joy!

If you promise not to tell the Fenelon Clan, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m surreptitiously praising God myself. I know why he does this. He knows that, unless he physically shuts me up, I’ll just keep a’going, making my own noise, and filling up the lovely solicitude that could be mine for the taking – if only I’d open my eyes, ears, and heart and close my mouth for at least a little while.

It’s funny how, when you’re unable to speak, you think of what’s really most important to say. Since I’m relegated to hollow wisps of air, eerie pipe-like noises that resemble a warped indigenous instrument, and scribbling frantic messages on a white board, I have to really think about what needs to be said rather than what I’d like to say. That takes some serious thought for a person like me who likes to play with words, on words, and about words day in and day out.

For me, this is a grievous situation!

I’ve been fighting this nasty little bug with everything I have, but still no prospect of voice. All of the medi-help sites I’ve perused tell me the same thing: the best cure for laryngitis is silence. Resting the vocal chords will give them the best chances of speedy and complete recovery.

I think this is true for many “viruses” that seek a host in us. Anger, division, misunderstanding, disappointment, prejudice, envy, depression…they all find ways to creep in and take over our minds and hearts. The best cure, of course is silence. When we become silent and rest in God, we begin to benefit from his grace and wisdom, and recovery takes place. All we have to do is open our eyes, ears, and hearts and shut our mouths.

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