Archives for posts with tag: silence

What do you say when you have nothing to say? Perhaps it is best just to be quiet. Don’t say anything.

What do you write when you have nothing to write? Nothing!

Silence and the blank page are intimidating but perhaps they are trying to free us from feeling the responsibility of always having helpful information or conversation.

Maybe we need to listen and learn rather than talk or write. So today I leave you with nothing or everything to ponder. Enjoy!

Jamie Jenkins

 

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Over three decades ago a friend expressed his opinion and regret that, “The day of civil discourse is past.” I wonder how he feels today more than 30 years later.

I have opinions (on just about everything) and I am willing to share them- if you will listen. I am open to discussions, conversations, civil discourse- but not arguments. I know that I am not always right…nor am I always wrong. Sometimes I am neither. Sometimes I am both. And I am willing to give you that same consideration.

When I am “for” something it does not mean that I am “against” everything or anyone else. If you disagree with me, I will respect your opinion. I may be firm but I never want to be harsh. I will not demonize you. I believe it is important to separate issues from people. People are more important.

There are people who jump on every bandwagon. Ready to rally to any cause. I am not one of them and might rightly be accused of not responding to situations that are critical to the well-being of others. I understand that every good and just effort requires a champion if results are to be achieved, if change is to occur.

Elie Wiesel said, “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” I agree. There certainly are things that require a response. Demand a word. But not everything.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” He is right but everything does not need an immediate response and certainly not an angry and vindictive one. The ancient Greek, Euripides, reminds us that sometimes “silence is true wisdom’s best reply.”

Please do not misunderstand me. I believe that we need to be change agents and confront injustice and evil. That means that there are times when we stand up and speak up but we need to be careful to address issues and not attack persons. Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize recipient, suggests “The best way to solve problems and to fight against war is through dialogue.” That is true for any behavior or attitude that damages people.

Leah Ward Sears, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, offers this counsel: “We need to begin again to raise civil discourse to another level. I mean, we shout and scream and yell and get very little accomplished, but you can disagree very much with the next guy and still be friends and acquaintances.”

I am thankful if you agree with me. At the same time it is OK if you disagree. I simply ask that we treat each other with respect and dignity. It just might be that we can accomplish more together than either of us can alone.

Jamie Jenkins

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Clarence Carter is a singer who was blind from birth. He was born January 14, 1936 in Montgomery Alabama and early on exhibited an interest and talent for music. He taught himself to play the guitar by listening to the blues classics of John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Jimmy Reed. At the Alabama School for the Blind in Talladega, Alabama he learned to transcribe charts and arrangements in Braille. In 1960 he graduated from Alabama State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in music.

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Jason  Ankeny said his musical style “exemplified the gritty, earthy sound of Muscle Shoals R&B, fusing the devastating poignancy of the blues with a wicked, lascivious wit to create deeply soulful music rooted in the American South of the past and the present.” Between 1968 and 2015 Carter recorded 37 albums. More than 20 of his singles were in the top 100 songs on Pop and R&B charts.

Carter’s 1999 album, Everybody Plays the Fool, contained a song with the following lyrics:

You talk too much. You worry me to death.

You talk too much. You even worry my pet.

You just talk, talk, too much.

Do you know such a person? Have you been that person? I do and I have. I don’t know why but sometimes I just don’t know when to stop talking. I have been told that I can talk a lot and say very little. Guilty! I know there are times when words are not helpful or appropriate but I just cannot help myself. When I am uncomfortable with silence, I often break the silence by talking.

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Lydia Dishman, in an article entitled “The Science of Why We Talk Too Much (And How To Shut Up),” says, “The ideal conversation should be a total give and take, with each person speaking about 50% of the time. That means staying quiet half the time.”

OK, but how do you achieve this 50-50 conversational ideal? Rob Lazebnik, a writer on The Simpsons, says it is easy: just ask questions. Then actually listen to what the other person is saying, and find openings.

Easy? Lazebnik said it was but then he said, “Talking is like drinking a great Cabernet. Listening is like doing squats. Listening is like reading a corporate report. Talking is like eating a cinnamon bun.” Easy? Baseball fans can understand his analogy: “Talking is a Miguel Cabrera home run. Listening is getting hit in the head by it.”aaeaaqaaaaaaaalvaaaajge5m2mzngrjltjhzgqtndnimi04njhhlwfjotjmmdc5zmy3ma

Studies have shown that most people who are talkaholics are aware of the amount of talking they do, are unable to stop, or do not see it as a problem. I am confessing- I know I talk too much and sometimes I cannot help myself but I understand that talking too much is a problem.

I know that in silence one can hear not only what is being said, but also what is not being said. But how does one withstand the pressure to speak?

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In a conversation a long time ago one person said that he had no real talent, nothing to offer for the benefit of others. When pressed, he finally said, “Well, I am a good listener.” He seemed to have no understanding of the value of listening.

There is a time to speak and a time to stop speaking. A time to talk and a time to listen (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Lord, help me to learn the difference.

Jamie Jenkins