The Sounds of Silence: A Moment with Bill Reflection
Reflections about life.
I was teaching in Oregon five years ago. I would make the drive down to Beaverton from my permanent home in Olympia, a trip that took about seventy minutes, every Sunday morning. I would then spend the week there, teaching full-time in a private school, and then when the week was done I would return to Olympia for the weekend.
During those drives I would reflect on life, often stimulated and inspired by the music I listened to as the scenery rushed by at sixty miles per hour. When I reached my destination I would sit down at my computer and type out those reflections, and those sessions at the computer became my first blog, “Sunday Reflections.”
Thus a writer was born.
Fast forward two years and I found myself writing for a site called HubPages, and some of my earlier works were recycled articles from those Sunday Reflections. They were ramblings of a personal nature, drawn from a lifetime of living hard and fast and often paying the price for a lack of caution. I did not expect anyone to be interested in them, but to my surprise people were, and those Sunday Reflections grew in number and became known as “A Moment with Bill Reflections.”
And then I got distracted, and moved to other matters, and the reflections dwindled in number until they hardly existed at all except in the deep recesses of my memory.
Until a day last week when a writer friend, Graham, mentioned that he missed those reflections.
So here we are.
The sounds of silence.
Hello Darkness My Old Friend
I’ve come to talk with you again.
I’ve come to talk.
I was texting a friend the other day, a dear friend, a friend I trust, a friend who is like a brother to me, and I was texting because I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to chat.
A dear friend, a friend I trust, a friend who is like a brother to me, and I didn’t have the time to chat.
The sounds of silence.
If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there, does it make a sound?
If a human being cries out in anguish, and no one listens, does that human make a sound?
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you.
Better yet, hear my words that I might know someone is listening and gives a rat’s ass.
See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me
There were times when childhood was painful for me. I suspect that is true for many of you as well. I was a shy kid, and as a result somewhat of a loner. I lacked the “cool factor,” as a child and teen. I didn’t have “it,” and I had no clue where it was located. I just knew other kids had it and I was sorely lacking.
I would go to school dances and stand by the wall while others tripped the light fantastic, and I remember wishing that someone would notice me. What would it be like if just one girl glanced in my direction, made eye contact, and appeared even remotely interested in my existence?
Walking the streets I was convinced that I was invisible, so non-existent was my impact on life around me. If a teen walks the streets and no one notices, does he exist? If I were to strip naked and sing the national anthem, would anyone stop what they were doing and join in on a chorus?
And still, today, when the demons are playing tag with my psyche, and I’m at my lowest, I can convince myself that if I suddenly ceased to be, the ripples from my disappearance would not equal those that a fallen feather causes on a placid pool of water.
Can you see me?
Can you feel me?
Will you touch me?
Will you heal me?
And That’s the Key, My Friends
To put it simply, we all want to know that we are recognized.
We all want to know that we matter, that someone notices, that someone actually gives a rip that we walked, talked, breathed, loved, and existed. We want to know that our tears are seen, our cries heard, and our laughter shared. We want to feel the healing grace of human touch, recline in the safety of numbers, and celebrate our inclusion in the human race.
I love the internet, and I even admit to enjoying Facebook, but I can see how social sites like Facebook have led to an increasing number of former humans now specters, ethereal in nature and no more real than a photograph. Texting, tweeting, they are the modern equivalent of communication, but are they really? Does a tweet really carry the same amount of enjoyment as a face-to-face encounter? Does a text really warm the cockles of the heart like a hug?
Busy we are and busy we shall be, chasing our tails in the grand quest…for what?
Harry Chapin once sang of the cat in the cradle, a message about parenting for sure, but just as easily about daily friendships. When will we find the time to actually reach out and touch someone? If not now then when? Tomorrow? Tomorrow becomes next week, becomes next month, and then years zip past and we are left with a collection of text messages and the warmth of the computer or cell phone.
And in the Naked Light I Saw
Trust me, I’m not going to strip naked and sing the national anthem. I no longer need to think of such drastic measures in order to have people notice me.
Instead, I decided upon a different solution, one not likely to get me arrested.
I started noticing other people.
I started reaching out to other people.
I started listening to others, speaking to others, and showing others that I cared.
And a miraculous thing happened.
They, in turn, saw me, heard me, felt me, and healed me.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)