Tag: Facebook

Not Talking Is Not Silence

Not Talking Is Not Silence


I have been mostly silent much of my life. As an introvert who grew up in a family who couldn’t hear me and in a world who didn’t understand me, silence came naturally to me. Words didn’t form easily or readily no matter how much I willed them to. I tried with everything I had and everything I knew to speak into the world I lived, but the silence that befell me was both deafening and defeating. I found it more unbearable to speak and not be heard than to not speak at all.

This silence was anything but silent. The noise within me was a cacophony of sounds. There was the screaming cry of anguish. There was clanging and banging of anger and frustration. There were the many words that came to my mind that remained stuck there running in circles trying to drown out one another. There were loud torrents of retribution and shame, rivers of despair, waves of excitement, deep longings for release, passionate hope, unrelenting belief and a desperate commitment to love.

I had an English teacher, in eleventh grade I think, who once wrote on one of my homework assignments, “I see and sense that you have much to say. Why don’t you speak?” He was a progressive, late 60’s kind of English teacher who was more of a philosopher than a literature instructor. He engaged the class everyday on the pressing issues of the day. He dug behind our preconceptions, prodded us to think beyond the typical rhetoric and to express our deepest beliefs. I loved listening to the banter and back and forth in the classroom. I was surrounded by bright, verbal peers who were fired up about Viet Nam and who were passionate about freedom, peace, human rights, and equality. I had thoughts. Many of them. But I remained silent, often hating myself because I did so, feeling deep shame because I could not stand up to the test of the debate.

My silence has been both a curse and a blessing. It becomes less of a curse and more of a blessing as time goes on and have learn to accept myself and my true nature. I am also less silent for sure as added years often release even the most reluctant speakers.  Not speaking has taught me to listen. It has taught me to watch and wait. It has taught me patience. It has taught me to look for answers within myself. Not talking has helped me discover the meaning of true silence in a world that prefers to talk itself into the ground. I respect silence now, when once I cursed it. I have reverence for the quietude that all of us are capable of and wherein lies our deepest truth and strength.

I  posted something controversial on my Facebook page a couple of days ago and suddenly my page was buried in words and rhetoric. I weeded through the dialogue trying to pick out what was helpful to the debate, there was so much that was not. Anger, name calling, defensive behavior, posturing, fear, hurt feelings. In the end there was no meeting of the minds, no common ground to be found, no gains in understanding, just words spread across a page. Very little listening took place. It seems this way of settling issues in our country has become the norm. Would that everyone would just be silent and take action instead; do what one’s heart calls one to do; no conversation is really needed or necessary to go where our inner guide leads.

Conversation and dialogue over issues facing us stirs the pot. It keeps us thinking about things. It also confuses and angers us. It muddies the water. It diverts our attention from the truth. It spreads a cloud so thick that other options can’t be found. Like silence, it is a blessing and a curse. When it comes to silence, however, Caroline Myss gives us something to work toward, something to aspire to, a place within us that is a treasure to be found. I still usually choose silence during debates. I choose to listen, reflect, weed through and weigh and measure the words of others against my own heart. In the end, acting from our own conscience and heart is what we are meant to do.

If you are an introvert I highly recommend Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking – for current research and a rich understanding of the nature of introversion.


Is Facebook the New Church?

Is Facebook the New Church?

I went to church regularly for the first seventeen years of my life. I grew up in a family of lifelong Episcopalians and I learned early on the value of falling asleep during a sermon. An inner quarrel grew, however, as I began to experience what I perceived as a disparity between what I believed spirituality to be and what I felt was being conveyed by the church.

It has been an on again, off again relationship, and after taking a serious stab at raising my children in the church and not being able to do so in a positive manner, it has been off.  I wandered off in a rather permanent sense, though every now and then I entertain the notion of going back.

When I ask myself what I miss about church and why I imagine that those who attend continue to attend, I come up with these three benefits of church attendance:

  • The social part, chatting with friends and acquaintances, sharing a bit of life together or a new recipe, catching up on the latest gossip. This is often the best part of regular church attendance. It provides an opportunity to socialize in an orderly fashion without excessive expectations or preparation.  One can escape in a flash if someone or something is particularly annoying with the comfort of knowing you won’t have to see the individual for another week, if then. “Sorry, got to run. I’m meeting Aunt Sally for lunch and she hates when I’m late. See you next week.”  Most people are best enjoyed in small doses.
  • Giving back. Being a part of a community that gives something back to the world feels good. Participating in church events or even just putting a few dollars in the plate on Sunday morning gives a person the feeling they’re contributing to the betterment of the world. We all need that. It’s all planned and orchestrated for us so it doesn’t cut into our very busy lives.
  • Food for thought. Inspiration. Something to help get us through the week. Nourishment for our soul, even if we’re not sure we have one. And even if we sleep through the sermon, chances are good that we’ll carry away a little golden nugget to spur us on in the daily challenges we all face.

Now, I ask you, doesn’t this sound exactly like Facebook? (And you can even get an app for that!)  I would love your feedback!