A Silent Treatment


This post is not a call to punish anyone, to withhold communication for the purpose of driving home the message. No one messed up. No one needs to come to their senses and apologize. I am not asking you to take my side and refuse to speak to him or her. I won’t ask you to swear to a code of silence. No pinkies or blood required. Instead, I am inviting you to be quiet.

It is an unusual request in a twenty-four-hour news cycle. There is something to be said all the time. So, we talk over, under, through, and past each other. With social media, there is no end to getting a word in.

Talking heads, bloggers of all kinds, and experts on seemingly every subject under the sun—there is no end to words. Words abound. Words surround us. Still, we manage to get a word in edgewise and with tongue-swords we fight for the last word. Thus, quieting ourselves might seem like an impossible task.

Besides, whoever talks the loudest gets the most attention, and we want to be declared winner of today’s screaming match. Still, we don’t feel heard; so, we keep talking. We think that we can talk it out, that when we say it, it’s done: I’ve said it and that settles it. But we don’t ever have the final say.

The American Empire is keeping up a racket and our politicians are making a fuss. They are talking all over us. Loquacious, they are piling on the words. Laying it on thick, how can we ever make sense of it all?

We would have to get away in order to keep from saying something. And that’s just it. Silence, that is inner quiet, is a journey. This is not an invitation to find a quiet spot but to get quiet, not to turn off something but to turn inward.

Barbara Erakko Taylor writes in Silence: Making the Journey to Inner Quiet, “At first the silence was no more than the tick-tick-tick of a clock on a shelf, the sound of wind blowing or acorns dropping on the roof. Then I met the silence of prayer when time is forgotten, the acorn is lost and at last solitude could speak…”

With God, who knows all our troubles and our thoughts before we meet them, we don’t have to say another word (Psalm 139:2). Prayer is a silent treatment.

Reverend Starlette Thomas* is the interim pastor at Village Baptist Church in Bowie, Maryland and the Minister to Empower Congregations at the D.C. Baptist Convention. She writes on the social construct of race and the practice of faith at www.racelessgospel.com. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and Starbucks.

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