Not the words. Not the magic ones you would like to say, the ones to make someone feel better, or the ones to fix the problem. But you say them anyway. And like the subject of the old adage, you refuse to stay silent and be thought a fool, but open your mouth and remove all doubt. (Yes, I am speaking from personal experience.)
Silence is so darn uncomfortable in our culture that we feel the need to fill it with something.
Somehow, silence feels wrong. It's an empty page for a writer. An empty table for a gourmet chef. An empty score for a musician. A blank screen for a web designer. An empty plan book for a teacher. It is emptiness that must be filled.
Or is it?
Our lives are bombarded by noise, sound, words - especially words. Words trying to sell us, convince us, persuade us, entice us, allure us. Words to placate, soothe, amuse, and deceive. Words to encourage, to teach, to build up, and to comfort.
But every heart needs space to breathe, a break from the clamor. Maybe that is what silence is for. Not emptiness, but space.
The page break for a writer. The time between courses for the chef. A measure of rest for the musician. Recess for the teacher. White space on the screen for the webmaster.
Silence doesn't always need to be filled or broken. Sometimes it can be savored, even when there is more than one person in the room. It can be appreciated for what it is. A moment to catch your breath, to exhale your anxieties and inhale your blessings.
It can even be a moment to anticipate what God has done and what he is going to do next. Revelation 8:1 describes a time in the future when there will be silence in Heaven for half an hour. It happens right between some pretty incredible end time events, and I can't help but think that so much is going to be happening that all of Heaven is going to just take that time to reflect and anticipate what God in His perfect, righteous holiness is going to do to set things right once and for all.
Some moments on earth are like that, too. So full of the heaviness and holiness of life this side of Heaven that words don't do it justice, but only a silence that is not empty, but full of wonder and awe and unanswered questions and longing for a taste of eternity and love. Not impersonal, but accompanied by the touch of a hand, a smile, a look. Not an expanse waiting to be filled, but an ocean waiting to be explored.
When there truly are no words, try silence.
How do you feel about silence?
Linking up with Kirsten Oliphant and her prompt this week: Word. Speech. Language