The Lesson of Silence
I think all fathers hope that they can teach their children the lessons in life and hope that their children will keep those lessons with them always. My father certainly hoped he could with my brother and me. He taught me so many different lessons that I still use today and will probably be using for my whole entire life. One lesson that I cherish the most is how to enjoy silence, whether that silence is occurring when you are by yourself, or cherishing it when you are with the people you love.
My dad and I’s conversation always seemed uncomfortable. My dad was not socially awkward or anything. He was a wonderful speaker and could always hold an intelligent conversation; but when we talked over the phone, I always felt a little bit out of place. Maybe it was because he was born in the late 1950s, where things were kept at a nice and steady pace, and I was born in 1993, where my generation has never known a time before the internet and the fast pace of today, but whatever the reason was, there was seemed some sort of disconnection when we talked on the phone.
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My calls usually consisted of the quick exchanging of information and little pleasantries. His calls consisted of some pleasantries and then silence, at least with me they did. Our phone calls usually started the following context:
“Oh, hey Dad!”
Ten to fifteen seconds of silence
“So, Dad, what’s up?”
“Oh,… nothing, just wanted to call you.”
Usually after some sort of that general dialogue, there would be several moments of silence. I could tell that he had continued working on whatever he was doing before the call and I would do the same. We would answer questions, but eventually fall back into that reassuring silence until one of us had end the call.
It was around the time when my dad’s illness started getting worse that finally started to understand why my dad called me when there was no real reason for the call. He just enjoyed sharing the silence with me, even if it was through a phone call. When he got worse, I would just sit next to him and enjoy the silence between us, that comfortable silence, where you just sit and think about nothing except the present, no worries about the future or the past, just that perfect, golden silence shared between you and someone you love.
Silence is the best gift my dad, or anyone, has ever given me. When I get stressed or upset, I take a moment to myself and go back to that wonderful silence. Soon all my troubles and worries melt away, leaving me with that beautiful uplifting feeling of love and happiness that occurs with that type of silence. Sometimes, it is so perfect, and I imagine that I’m with my dad again, sharing that silence.