Silence and speech

I’m intrigued at just how noisy a silent retreat can be.

Not just the clink of cutlery on china when we eat (though that is very noticeable; I begin to understand why silent orders have readings through meals). It is also realising just how had it is not to talk.

I can manage not to have conversations with strangers (there’s a surprise). But it’s the incidentals – saying thank you when somebody opens a door, or passes the salt; wishing somebody good morning or good night; passing a quick comment on the weather, especially when it is sunny and bright as it was yesterday.

On the whole, I am cheered to notice how deeply ingrained such little pieces of communication are. They are reminders that living with others is eased by little phrases, and these phrases matters. And reminders of just how powerful words are, even little ones, even ones we take for granted.

I hope that, returning from this silent time, I will treat words and conversing more reverentially…..


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