Silence is the fence around wisdom. — German Proverb
I have lost count now of how many times I begin to write a post, only to stop midway through my musings to turn back and huddle safely behind the fence of silence.
Like many of us, I have felt so unbelievably overwhelmed by information in these last months – medical, political, social, and cultural. I read, watch, and listen to information from so many sources, paying attention to everything I can – allopathic, eastern, and integrative on the medical front, red, blue, moderate, independent on the political, and every creed, color, doctrine, and philosophy I can find on the socio/cultural front.
During 2020 in general, my brain has continually felt like a giant rolodex that I am frantically searching through — like an executive secretary on the hunt for an obscure bit of information for an impatient and demanding boss. There is so much noise out there – so much to compare and contrast about the current events of today. The only way I have found to dim the noise in my own world has been to give no more than a moment’s glance to the constant scream of opinion that exists everywhere, while giving my real attention only to the experts — those who have devoted themselves wholeheartedly to the topics on which they speak and write.
Despite my efforts, the roar these days from the cheap seats is really hard to muffle. It is that roar that has made me feel quiet, because I don’t want to part of it. I don’t want to add to the confusion by crowing from the rooftops about the small bit of the elephant that I can see.
There is no denying that the topics of pandemics, politics, riots, and more have all rented space in my head over these last few months. But despite the occupancy they take up in my mind, the limits of my knowledge mean I can only touch one part of the elephant. Turns out, trying to intuit what the rest of the giant elephant known as “modern reality” is comprised of — when I can only see and touch one small bit at a time — is rather exhausting. Like, you’ve-run-a-marathon exhausting.
The months-long break I have taken from writing comes from this sense of exhaustion, and my desire to not add to the roar of opinion that has begun to feel like the drone on of white noise.
But I miss writing. And I miss my people. So I’m going to move beyond that fence of silence in today’s quote, without venturing beyond the pasture of wisdom that is so familiar to me. In that pasture lives a small herd of elephants that I know well – grief, loss, end-of-life care, death-bed visions. These are the things to which I have devoted my 25-year career, and they are the elephants in the room for a lot of us right now. So let’s begin the conversation about life, death, and the things that matter most.