Some other sounds of silence

This morning I took a little time (set my timer for ten minutes) for bringing my intentions in line with my actions; that is, for sitting with my Love awhile the way I sit with My Sweetie.

The challenges are similar. 

For good communication to come out of another’s silence, I find that it is critical to leave the silence alone. I’ve done a version of this since forever in my teaching environments: ask a question, and cheerfully wait until an answer is offered. It’s a sort of game for me, one I am confident I’ll win: I will outwait (outwit?) the group; someone in the group will crack long before I will. So I have years of practice with holding silence out for others to fill. Sort of.

Intimate silence isn’t–can’t be–a game in that way. One, there’s not a goal within the communication, except perhaps mutual disclosure. Two, there are only two involved, and where there are only two there’s not enough dynamism in the system to make speech inevitable.

This is where I struggle. I have so much swirling around in my brain I can sustain light conversation for a very, very long time. That is, I can either fill the silence and/or provide compost to grow discussion…but in my most intimate relationships, I end up controlling that flow. My partners do not, as a rule, tell me to hush.

I do have sufficient training to put a cork in it. And with my human partner, I can use my allied training to read his body’s silence. Is this the time where we discover there are things that want to be said, though the bustle of the day has made them wait under a blanket? Is it time to reflect, to assemble the thoughts of the day and set them in order before sharing? Is it instead a long, tiring day, and in the words of Crash Davis, “I don’t wanta think about nothing…(beat). I just wanta be.”?

I can pay attention to that. I have to focus, but I can do that, too. What I found rockier this morning, and other mornings, is that when I sit in quiet with my other Lover,

there’s nothing for my eyes to do. There’s only my brain, which is known to be ceaselessly busy. How do I sustain my focus now?

Reader, I swept the floor. 

Perhaps one of the elements of our disconnect from God is that we’ve reduced the number of routine tasks that our bodies can do while our minds sit in intimate silence. What if dishwashing turns out to be a useful component of a life of faith?

Maybe I should wish for more weeds in my garden.

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