Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live. – Robert Kennedy
I’m a nervous talker. My oldest son has inherited this trait. Put us in a pressure situation and we’ll talk through it, fighting to kill the silence.
This quarantine has created different new realities. The media is saturated with “journalism” meant to drive clicks and advertising. The future is leaning on politics, not unity. Throw a stone and you’ll hit an “expert” telling you that the world is over and will never return.
We are pushed for a response.
Both of my boys have finished the school year at home. The oldest will go to 6th grade next year which means a new school and environment. We’ve seen worry come about in different ways over the last few weeks.
No matter how you feel, understand this: silence is acceptable.
Enjoy the Silence
One of my favorite memories is sitting on the porch with my grandfather as he told me stories. Thinking back now, I realize it was not a single exchange. He spoke but, in the end, he also listened.
We’ve lost the art of listening.
We speak then formulate our response to what is being said well before it is our space to talk. We race forward missing the ebb and flow of exchange.
Tragedy. Events that blow up our world. Loss. Death. Struggle. These things bring us to our mirror moment, the point where we look at ourselves and wonder, now what?
Take a minute. Breathe and know you can absorb it before you push away again.
The Power of Silence
There’s an old interrogation technique used by law enforcement. In John Douglas’s book Mindhunter, he mentions it. He talks about asking questions then, at a certain point, stopping and staying quiet.
Just look at the other person and wait.
You’ll be surprised at what happens.
Silence generates a response. People will fill the space. It is a natural instinct we can use to our advantage.
The Weight of Silence
No matter how far we go, the power of touch will never be replaced. The grasp of a hand, the arm around the shoulder, a hug, all of these mean more than words. We are wired as humans to respond to touch.
For men, this isn’t always easy. Let’s be honest. If we haven’t grown up with it, it can be hard to generate. For those of us who have dealt with other childhood trauma, it can be even harder.
There are moments I need to remind myself to physically interact with my boys. The security created by casual physical encouragement is important and will stretch into the future for them.
When words are lost, physical actions matter.
The Space of Silence
In 2018, my wife and I suffered a miscarriage. I’ll never forget walking out of the ER that morning. It took time to recover and we still both experience grief from time to time.
For a while, a few weeks at least, I had nothing to say.
I had nothing to write. No words. No prayers. No conversation with God.
I realize now, God was close. I realize the space was needed.
Some wounds hit so deeply they take time to heal. In this healing, allow yourself space to recover. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.
This quarantine has led to some exciting developments for me. I’ve launched a new website. This is still in the early phase and I’m adding content often. Please pay it a visit and drop your email address to subscribe to future updates. There will be new information soon.
Keep working. Keep writing. Keep surviving with those you love. We will make it through.