Letting Silence Speak

An elderly couple sat in the next table in the prison visitation room.  He was an inmate in a wheelchair; his wife sat next to him.

In the half hour that I observed them, not a word was spoken. They sat there holding hands and looking at each other. Several times he reached over and gently patted his wife’s cheek.

Words simply don’t apply beyond a certain point. There was no place here for noisy chatter, the possessive clutch, the clinging arm…only the silence and the gentle holding of each other’s hands. I was reminded that it is not what is said that is sacred, but that which is embraced in looks, touch, and solitude that intoxicates. These two were partners moving in the same rhythm, creating a pattern together and being invisibly nourished by it.

I wondered what they had been through, why he was imprisoned….so many questions. They obviously had reached a place in their relationship where words would have only diminished the flow of feelings between them.

The feeling of love was so thick in that room I felt I was participating in something sacred…sharing in their communion, in their pain, their love, something sad and also joyful; the full range of a human relationship.

I was reminded that once an atmosphere of mutual trust is present, we can be silent and find the way into our heart. And when we listen with our soul, we come into rhythm and unity with the music of the universe.


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