The last few weeks have been some of the hardest that I have ever felt. But out of tribulation comes a fresh sense of purification, not unlike the feeling of washing dirty hands in a cool stream. I think that what makes it possible to endure the most difficult of trials is having others around you who care about you. There are rarely any words that can be spoken to make our problems go away. A good friend knows when to speak, but more importantly, when to shut up. There’s a real arrogance in trying to solve everyone’s problems with a 2-minute encouraging word. Albeit well intended, these pep talks are often draining to me. But I know that I am guiltier of that than most, so perhaps I shouldn’t say anything.
I guess what I’m getting at is that I am growing more and more to appreciate the value of silence. I believe that being fully present in a situation, but choosing to remain silent is one of the greatest signs of maturity, and I hope to grow in that a lot more. I think this kind of companionship shows a respect for the other person, rather than just waiting to talk. I also find it more comforting in tough times. For me personally, the greatest comfort has come not from anyone’s words, but from the knowledge of a fully present, yet often silent guide within me, who is somehow able to silently embrace me from the inside.
What I am really learning anew is the value of intimate friendship. The band Death Cab for Cutie nicely sums up my feelings on the subject, infinitely more articulately than I have:
“I know our filthy hands can wash one another's
And not one speck will remain.
I do believe it's true
That there are roads left in both of our shoes
But if the silence takes you
Then I hope it takes me too.”