Show Me How To Bear The Sound Of Silence

“Silence makes the real conversation between friends.

Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts.”


[Margaret Lee Runbeck]


Today, whilst searching for the right quote for my daily post in the 365 of 2012 project, I came across this great quote and it got me thinking.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find it anymore and I don’t even know who to attribute it to ( I want to say Emerson. It sounds like something Emerson would say or at least something people would attribute to him).

So for lack of exact wording, you will have to make do with what I can recall:

“As we go through life we find, that our closest friends are not the ones who console us and offer words of wisdom, but those who can bear sitting next to us in silence, suffering through the bewilderment and loss that can not be described, without the need for words to connect to us and our feelings”

[Maybe Emerson]

This stunned be (and oh I wished I had been insightful enough to bookmark it). Deeply.

I think mostly, because I’m not good with silence.

And I don’t mean the awkward silence, nobody’s good with those.

And I don’t mean the natural silence, when all has been said, everybody’s good with those.

I mean the painful silence, when someone you feel connected to, suffers.

I can’t bear it!

Not only, because I want to make them feel better. Everybody wants to lift the spirit of people they care about, when those are feeling low.

I can’t bear it, because I need to let them know, with words (many words), that they are not alone, that I am there with them, that I treasure them and I feel for them and feel with them.

I want them to hear my voice reciting the wonders of who they are, so that my voice might echo in them and in response they can hear their own voice repeating it.

Over and over again. Until they believe it or they feign to believe it just to have me shut up – whatever comes first.

I understand, that this is just a way of comforting myself. For if the pain of the one close to me is vanquished (by words), driven back into the misty fog from hence it came, I too can rest easy.

I’m sorry.

I wished, I understood the art of silent companionship in need.

I wished, I could make you feel loved and worthy and understood with my presence and my presence alone.

This is one of the things I want to learn.

To listen to the grieving silence and to bear it.

To make a stand for someone by shutting up.

To give comfort to others and not to comfort myself.


For now, I can’t.

Please know, that I only want to see you happy and in the attempt of forcing a smile on your lips (in the hopes it might then enter your heart as well) I fight demons the only way I know how: With loud noises.

So please forgive me, if I talk to much.

I will try to breathe more between sentences at least.

4 thoughts on “Show Me How To Bear The Sound Of Silence

  1. Being around people who are experiencing pain and anguish isn’t easy…there’s a postit one of my collegues has on her wall, it reads: “We’re all doing the best that we can.”

    • I like that – the post-it, I mean. Remember the shaggy Wrogger bit of me? Well I think I react to people feeling low, like a puppy. I whine softly, lick their hand nudge them – well you know figurativly speaking 😉

  2. I’ve written a response to your post here, 3 times, in my head but I haven’t been able to get my fingers working on a keyboard until just now…. I disagree with you.

    Hear me out.

    This is probably just a personal preference, and I have no idea, well, maybe a little, the context of this… but I do not prefer silence from you. I do not prefer silence in life, in moments of trouble. There’s been enough of this for me. and I recognize that most people do not want me blabbering about, but I’ve learned to be quiet in order to listen. I’ve also learned that there’s power in reframing, reorientating the problem through words, through noise. Albiet, I don’t know you in a way that have us sitting near a close friend in solemn distress, and I do agree with Patrice that we are all doing the best we can, but in this forum, in this quandry of virtual exchange.. Your words, your breaking the silence, your filling it with something, something more than nothing… is what I so dearly appreciate about you. But I’m odd. I know that. 🙂

    The dialog of sorrow can reframe, can redefine, can bring us to places we never thought sorrow could. I suppose hugs can do that too, but from here, in this medium, words, do become smiles. Words become cups to enable the right kind of happy. Sometimes it’s just slower than we think.

    So this is completely selfish of me to gone on like this… oh well I guess I too struggle with silence…
    Words remain, whereas silence persists. I recall words from people who’ve been there for me in times of need in the past, it’s the noise they made that helps carve out new pathways for me to live, not the silence that is like a backdrop for the everything.
    I like your noise. I would hope that someone else would too, but I understand the need for restraint. Oh do I understand that need…

    • Yes, you do know the context 🙂

      – well at least the current trigger for it (actually for my daily picture too – I searched for “belonging”)

      – so I am grateful (very much so) that you appreciate the noise I make.

      You’ve got a point – it’s harder to show support without noise here: “liking” does resemble it a bit as in saying: “Yes, I’m here. I hear you. I can relate” but it does lack the great advantage of touching physically and mentally.

      It’s more a recognition (which is great, don’t get me wrong) than silent companionship.

      I guess my point is, I’m a nervous talker and when people that mean something to me hurt I get nervous and worried and then I talk until I am reassured that everything is going to be okay (I think the Wrogger image I used in Patrice’s reply works best here actually)

      I’m odd too – I guess – well actually everybody I appreciate is somewhat odd or quirky

      I’m just afraid, I will take away from peoples feelings by insisting to much, by making them move their focus from themselves to me (just like a needy little mut – see it does work), if that makes any sense

      Oh and for God’s sake, please be selfish ( I have a feeling you don’t do that too often – or least what you consider to be selfish wouldn’t be the webster’s definition of it): I mean, if it involves me being able to make noise – I’m all for it 😉

      Thank you, Erik – have I told you it’s good to have you back, yet ?! 😉

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