Words lose their force when they are constant and never ending!

Is there another way of communicating?

We are immersed in words, many words, and sometimes it can feel as if we are drowning in words!  The gift and power of speech is without question a remarkable thing, a blessing to humanity, and good words are able to teach, inspire, correct, soothe, give hope and comfort, open up worlds of meaning and truth and discovery, create intimacy, right a wrong, forgive, express love and joy… .  A wonderful conversation with someone is one of life’s truly great delights.  Watching a baby develop her power of speech is awe-inspiring, nothing less than what I would call a miracle – divine creativity and power in all its loveliness!  And what we know today about the development and potential of the brain cannot fail to bring us to our knees in the face of the wonder of this Presence and Power.  But there is a point at which we may well say ‘enough’!  We all know that feeling at the end of a long day of being ‘spoken at’, when we no longer hear what is being said.  Or the effect upon us of those who will just not stop talking!  Or who push a point ad infinitum!  The delightful chit-chat and camaraderie soon give way to overload and cabin fever.  As Thomas Merton said: “If we strive to be happy by filling all the silences of life with sound …  we will only succeed in producing a hell on earth”.  

Words lose their force when they are constant and never ending.  There is a point at which words simply become noise.  And there’s noise everywhere today.  Screens, speakers and signs abound everywhere.  In our homes, in lifts and waiting rooms, along the roads, in stores, in cafes, on the streets  –  and of course, we carry that ‘plug-in’ capacity with us wherever we go and into whatever we are doing.  From all sides we are constantly bombarded with thoughts that are externally generated and not our own.  Often they simply replace our own.  And this abundance of noise, and words passed speedily back and forth among us, or simply thrown at us, in many cases takes the place of real connection and intimacy with others.  One of the most striking images of our day is that of people sitting in a café, each absorbed in the sending and receiving of words to an absent person.  It makes me wonder about presence –  presence to one another –  that great gift of simply being with, attentive to, another.  This is in fact the gift and blessing of being human.  We are bodily beings and our presence matters.  In the context of so much noise and words, silence becomes the enemy.  Words become an addiction and silence is like withdrawal.  The addiction to noise only makes us more dependent upon it and less able to do without it. 

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Ms Kerry McCullough

Spirituality and Liturgy Coordinator