Sunday, September 11, 2011

Why does silence fall?

Sometimes in a conversation silence will fall. I sit there with the other fully present to the silence. The silence is a space for thought, for rest, for appreciation or when the subject of the discussion evades meaning making. There can be an awkward pause especially at an occasion such as an interview when the recipient attempts to orientate to what he thinks is is being requested of him (or her) or to plumb the unspoken assumptions behind the question. At a recent interview I found it hard to answer since the context was not clear to me. Sometimes a smile can break the ice, an unspoken communication that attempts to build rapport. I particularly like the pauses that follow when I offer an extempore prayer with someone, or they pray with me. Eyes are opened slowly, heads are raised, eyes meet and a smile and simple thanks make the liminal step back into the every day.

Silent pauses can be leaden with awkwardness, golden with meaning, silver with gratitude and perhaps platinum, not platitudinous at moments of sheer aphoria.

Silence falls and somehow this metaphor appeals and rings true, yet sometimes silence rises to greet us.

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