The Sound of Silence

By Adam Glasgow - 12/29/2017

I recently saw the new Star Wars movie. (If you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want to know ANYTHING about it, then better skip the next two paragraphs. But I promise, no major spoilers.)


There is an interesting scene in the middle of the movie where the sound cuts out entirely. For several seconds it was totally silent in the theater, and then as people took in what was happening, there were a few oohs and ahhs and gasps. It was a powerful effect and for an instant brought me into the world of my fellow movie-viewers. We shared a moment of wonderment that with sound would never have transpired.


The next day I read an article about how some theaters around the country are putting up a warning for their patrons that there is a moment of silence in the movie. People had been complaining that they thought there was a technical glitch. I guess some of us are so used to “noise” that we think silence couldn’t possibly be intentional.


I’ve always been pretty accepting of silence. But sometimes it does confuse people. I’ve had more than my fair share of “Why aren’t you talking?” during car rides, or perplexed looks when I just listen to a story and don’t offer an immediate comment or advice in return. 


But here’s my feeling about silence: sometimes by not filling the space, something else happens. Like in the movie theater, the absence of noise made an even greater statement. We can all share a moment or a feeling without words. We can know we are heard even in the silence.  We can communicate without even speaking.


At home with my family, we love our “couch time” – reading the paper or a book and just relaxing together. We may each be doing our own thing, but as I like to say, we are “air breathing” together.  We are sharing space and time, but letting the silence create its own peace. (Okay, yes, much of the time the Patriots, Celtics, or Sox are on in the background, and if they’re not, then a Bourne movie is re-running for the 100th time. But still, quiet communication often predominates.)


So, here’s to letting a little silence into our lives. You never know what you may hear. Shhhhh….

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