I have always been a fan of languages.  Ever since I was a little girl, I would be fascinated with learning about the different ways that people all over the world communicate with each other.

I guess you could blame my parents for that one – more specifically my dad.  Although, the travel bug infected my family early, mainly with my mother’s persuasion, my dad is the one who focuses on the language part.

Even today, he still will update me periodically about the new language he’s learning or foreign movie or book that he’s watching or reading.

I guess in comparison to that, I’m not as much of a linguistic fanatic.  But, I always have appreciated the communication aspect of it.

When applying to law school, I remember putting in my personal statement that what impressed me the most about law was that it was its own language.  It was a means of communication for the people, yet most got lost in it because it was impossible to understand.

I also remember writing how I wanted to be an intermediary between the parties and serve as a translator for the people.  Sounded great, right?  Yeah that’s what I thought too.  Until, I didn’t.

Because there was a problem with law that I recognized which was a commonality in almost all languages: words.

We are a world obsessed with words.  We bend them, break them, invent them and overuse them.

We’re constantly bombarded with words from every direction during every interval of time no matter what we’re doing.  If we’re not speaking them into the phone, then we’re hearing them from a radio or reading them on a billboard.

We have overused and abused them so much that much like incessant antibiotics, we have become immune to them. 

We can read the same paragraph or hear the same phrase ten times and still not comprehend the message because honestly, sometimes we just tune everything out.

But can you blame us?

In a world that’s obsession has increased not only in words but in sounds, we have completely lost the appreciation and even more importantly the understanding of the most powerful language of all: silence. 

The dictionary will tell you that a language is a means of communication between humans consisting of words, written or spoken.  But, what about the lack thereof? 

Everyday from the moment we wake up and hear the sound of birds chirping, alarms screaming, sirens whaling, or that one annoying, extra-early-riser neighbor mowing his lawn, we have activated our auditory senses.

We get in our car and turn on the radio, call a friend, or listen to the gusts of wind propel the rubber tires from the thick asphalt beneath us.  We hear honking, whistles, some curses and some cries as you experience just the usual routine of rush hour traffic.

We’ve become so accustomed to the buzzing of the toothbrush, the droning of the fridge, or the frightening noises that come from the heater, that silence has become something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. 

Silence allows us the chance to use our other senses without the interference of our ears’ blind bias.  Someone can say they’re happy, yet their face has sadness engraved in their lines.  Or someone can play honest, but their vibe speaks louder than their most convincing phrase.

Silence gives us the opportunity to process the hours we spend in its absence.  It is only then that we can fruitfully recharge in order to leave it again.

Silence isn’t practiced in abundance, and it takes patience to understand.  Silence means so much to so many and yet it’s deemed more of an enemy than a friend.  Silence isn’t something to be scared of, but it’s something we need to trust in.  There’s more meaning and answers in silence, but without ceasing of words, we can’t begin.

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