Silence Speaks Louder Than Words

By Megan Blair (Bishop’s)

Early morning in the common room

Early morning in the common room

It’s 7:00 am. I have been up for an hour and a half now already, unable to sleep. Even though I would rather be curled up in my sleeping bag right now, it’s nice to have the common room to myself. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy the peacefulness and tranquillity of an empty space. Waiting for internet to miraculously work, I decided to read some of my peers’ blogs. Reading through the blog posts, I found myself tearing up and to be quite honest, I’m not sure as to why that is. I’m not sad, I am not missing home, yet something about reading through everyone’s posts sparked some emotion.

It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to read through someone’s personal writings and see how they perceive certain things as well as how certain events have shaped them. Even the smallest event that would seem like nothing to someone can spark something big within someone else. Something that seems so unimportant, something so minor, something so insignificant can have such a major impact on another individual.

When I was finished reading the blogs ,there was this one in particular that stuck with me. It was about a moment of silence between a Praxis Malawi member and a Malawian. This moment of silence was brought on by a question asked. As the Praxis Malawi group member waited for a response, he was struggling to hold back from asking more questions, trying to get a response. After some time, the Malawian had collected his thoughts and gave a well thought out response.

I must say I have definitely felt this way on a number of occasions here in Malawi. But why is that so? Why do we feel the need to fill these silences? I sat on this question for a few minutes and came to the following conclusion: we live such busy and fast-paced lives; constantly surrounded by noise. As a result of this, we have a tendency to feel the need to fill silence. We have difficulties walking alongside someone without speaking. We are unable to remain in the presence of another individual without sharing a few words, even when we have nothing to say.

Being in Malawi has taught me to listen to silence and appreciate it. What we don’t realize is that words don’t have to be shared in order to feel, hear, and understand something or someone. Sometimes the greatest conversations are had through silence and if you listen carefully, you’ll realize that silence can sometimes speak louder than words.

4 thoughts on “Silence Speaks Louder Than Words

  1. Nancy

    Hello Megan,

    It is wonderful to hear from you.

    You are so priviledged to be in such a wonderful place. I could go for some quiet. The construction around here is crazy. The noise starts at 7:00 am and goes until sundown. Can’t wait for it to be over!

    I love the quiet moments I share with Dad when we sit on the front porch listening to the crickets. I love watching babies sleeping peacefully in their crib (especially you and Leighton). I love watching the stars at night at Al and Sue’s next to a crackling fire and listening to the frogs croaking in the lake or the bats fluttering by or the loons calling. I love lying in bed listening to the rain fall softly on the roof. There are so many beautiful moments to share with loved ones.

    Learning to listen is an art. But, learning to hear and understand what others are saying requires a conscious effort; requires we give up the attention on us and we put the attention on others. Not an easy task to do, especially in the individualistic society we live in. The modern world is all about being the best and out performing others. But in the end, it is the relationships we have that will give the most meaning to us. It is not about how much money you earned, what car you drive, how big your house is or how many homes you own. It is about the people we share our lives with and the differences we make in someone’s life. It is a bit cliché, I know, but when asked what people remember the most in their lives, it is the moments shared with friends and loved ones.

    I am thankful to have you in my life and love the memories of our quiet moments together!

    We look forward to reading more about your time in Malawi!

    Hugs and kisses Angel <3

  2. Dad

    It is hard to escape noise here. Even at 5:30 am there is traffic in the streets and all through the house there is the hum of things plugged in, the de-humidifier, the fridge, the heat pump… Only when we have an ice storm or we go camping at Alfred and Susan’s can we find the peace that is silence. The same is true in our lives as you note, we fill silence with words (or TV or music) losing that peace. As we are externally so we are interally, too many thoughts racing through our head when more often than not all we need is to clear our head and just listen, silently. I hope you find more peaceful moments.


  3. ann marcoux

    Hello Megan,
    The beauty of your words made me tear up….So true!It is in the silence that we hear our heart and the heart of others and for me, that is where i can also hear the heart of God!Those intimate awakenings are best heard in silence and our actions are also more effective when they start there.
    You have a beautiful heart Megan and it is awesome to read but mostly feel in your words the gentle touches of silence and what it awakens in you and us!!
    Love hugs and blessings!


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