A moment of silence louder than words
It's my job to come up with words each week. It's become almost a habit, but I've wondered what I'll do when the words don't come, as I suspect will happen at some point. So far, though, I've been able to find something to say. Or maybe nothing to say, but the words have been there nonetheless.
Over the last few days, I've pondered words and how our lives are filled with a plethora of them — on the news, at the dinner table, work and home, online, through texts, on the phone, social media, billboards, message boards and hashtags. So many of us with so much to say.
And, despite this overabundance of letters strung together to form thoughts and ideas, sometimes there are no words. I've even expressed this sentiment out loud (or at least on Facebook). Sometimes a situation unfolds where words prove inadequate in describing the feelings and sentiments behind them.
And then there are the times when words may suffice, but silence is golden.
Sometimes maybe instead of more words, what we need most is silence.
Today I suggest a moment of silence for children who go to bed hungry and wake up knowing that a hot breakfast — or any breakfast — is an impossibility. For those who are given the peanut butter sandwich lunch option because their school account is deep in the red.
For animals in shelters or on the streets or on the loose that are unkempt and uncared for and long for nothing more than a forever home and a family of their own.For moms, dads, brothers, sisters and others who are welcoming the joy of a newborn baby into their lives. Likewise sentiments to families that are embracing adoption with open arms and open hearts.
For the heroes in our everyday lives: teachers, bus drivers, firefighters, police officers and those working in the emergency room, for public servants, clergy, the kind neighbor next door.
For those serving our country in the armed forces at home or in a covert location far away from their families — a moment of gratitude-filled silence.
For children and adults in other countries who live in danger or impoverished conditions most of us can't even imagine. For those without access to clean drinking water or enough food to eat, I suggest a moment of silence followed by a call to action to do whatever you can to help.
For someone experiencing the loss of a loved one or for the person who is remembering a lost loved one. Sometimes there are no words.
For people who battle mental illness in a world that bestows stigma to such labels, a moment of silence to acknowledge your pain and to let you know others care and want to help. You are not alone.
For those facing a physical illness and the reality of words like malignant, terminal, tumor, chemotherapy and cancer — healing thoughts for a pain-free, disease-free future.
For the parents who get up early and go to work each day, or for those who get up at differing hours because they are on the late shift this week. For those same parents who take an hour of vacation time so they can attend an elementary school music program and then go home and make dinner and help with homework and throw in a load of laundry before falling into bed exhausted at the end of the day — I offer a moment of silent applause.
I long for a moment of silence, and one that is free from political opinions, viewpoints or perspectives, because we've all heard enough of those. Even a tiny patch of noiselessness in this realm is appreciated.
Finally, a moment of silence for each of us. Sometimes we beat ourselves up over nothing, or something that's beyond our control. Let's quiet the nasty voices inside our heads and simply let silence take over for just a moment. Because we deserve the peace it will bring.
We can all give a silent thanks for that.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.