A friend recently gifted me The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers and I have found so much inspiration within the first two chapters.
“I just feel like there isn’t enough silence, you know, and I’m always asking people if they can just give some silence. And we’re in a medium that gives so little of that.” – Mister Rogers
Of course the medium he is referring to here is television, but, don’t you think it relates to our world today? Social media. Freedom of Speech. Of politics. Of self. We’re in this place that tells us we have to be loud to be heard. To make sure someone is listening to us, and seeing us. Making sure everyone knows our every thought, every move, every position we take. In being so loud, we’ve become so fearful of being silent. Silent in every realm, in every relationship.
What if we shut up and everyone just forgets about us?
We have lost complete comfort in silence. In sitting with a person in the still of the morning, a cup of coffee in hand, enjoying a book or newspaper, yet still feeling together. Feeling connected just in their presence. Feeling contentment in the silence. A look, a smile, a touch of a hand has been replaced with words and noise, as we have somehow transported ourselves to a place where quiet is covered by chaos.
We have created this culture in which in the silence all we are able to find is fear. Fear of what our partner is thinking about. Worry, anxiety, and made up scenarios in our head have flooded and drowned the comfort in the quiet. The idea that two who can be quiet together can conquer anything. To understand that the silence speaks volumes in regards to faith, trust, and understanding of each other.
I am reminded of a Dixie Chicks song, (far from Mister Rogers, but relevant all the same,)
“And anger plays on every station, answers only make more questions, I need something to believe in, breathe in the sanctuary in the easy silence that you make for me, it’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me.” – Easy Silence
If you look up sanctuary, you’ll find the meaning to be “a place of refuge or safety.” It’s this woman’s cry to her partner that in a loud world full of wreckage, she finds safety and comfort in his silence. That there is power in quiet, for when there is nothing left to say, we must be able to find comfort in being there, yet saying nothing. Easy silence, with no uncertainty is where our peace is found.
This concept isn’t in relation to romantic partnerships alone, but every kind we may encounter. What if we shut it all off? Shut it all down. What if we retrained ourselves to be quiet, yet still feel heard?
Maybe changing the world isn’t being loud and angry. Making signs to make arguments. Making noise to make statements. Maybe the only way to truly get to know each other is to lose of the fear of losing ourselves to the silence. Because really, I think that might be where the answers are found.
“Just think. Just be quiet and think. I think it’d make all the difference in the world.” -Mister Rogers