One Part of Me Just Needs the Quiet

“One part of me wants to tell you everything
One part of me just needs the quiet.”
-Toad the Wet Sprocket

Frightening can be the revelation that life has changed. When it isn’t as it was before.

In the space between revelation and full appreciation of new discovery, I choose to exploit the silence – the awkwardness of all that is quiet and unsettled…where the breath of anticipation is a whisper not yet revealed. In the depths of this sometimes lonely place is where we come to appreciate that we are not alone.

Sometimes we expect fireworks and cartwheels of gratitude, but are met with the hesitation of exuberance – the pregnant pause before the crowd realizes they can laugh or that they should clap…the beat the best comedic actors feed off of under the pressure to perform. Pinch me – is this real? I dare not speak for fear of awaking from the dream.

We can say too much.

We can interrupt the quiet prematurely.

It is not that there is a lack of desire to share. We will get there. But there is safety in the quiet…in the absence of revealing. The silence is the place where wisdom can be found…the recollection of past memories or words shared by trusted elders or good friends.

The air is always softer without words. The wind never feels as harsh when it is silent. Words will come when they are ready. In the meantime, the silence is the reassurance that we can hear our own breath without hearing our own voice…that the pumping of our heart is audible within our chest. We have the means of strength to hold it all together if only we can listen and not speak until we are ready. And when speech comes, it will be with words well considered and something worthy of being said.


(When I instruct people on Excellence in Housing-Based Case Management I walk training participants through the home visit technique of learning to listen and the importance of silence in order to encourage others to fill the space with their own voice. I have been reflecting more on the importance of silence and the quiet times that we share in our engagement, especially in the early stages of home visits or more intensive engagement with people during outreach. This blog was inspired by thinking more deeply about the importance of the silence.)

Iain De Jong

About Iain De Jong

3 Responses to “One Part of Me Just Needs the Quiet”

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  1. Joan Kieffer says:

    Whoever said “Silence is golden” was very wise. The use of silence is one of the most powerful and difficult skills.

    • Paul Behler says:

      Dear Iain,
      At the ripe old age of 5 my father took me out to the woods on a Saturday Morning; he had a lesson to teach me. He sat me down on a log and said “Son, just sit here and be quiet and tell me what you learn”. Well after a few minutes I said “Dad, I am not learning anything”. His reply was ” Paul, just sit here and be quiet and listen, and tell me what you learn”. Well, after a few minutes I said to him “Dad, if you listen to the wind blowing through the leaves of that tree over there, it makes this kind of sound. but, that other tree over there, it makes a different kind of a sound; different leaves I think. And over here is a frog that makes “this kind” of sound but, over there is a different kind of frog and it makes a different kind of a sound”
      Dad smiles and says” Son, you are only 5 and you don’t know shit! Just be quiet and listen to the whole world around you, and it knows everything you need to know.” At the age of 61 I still practice that lesson and even if you learn what NOT TO DO, you have learned more than you knew the moment before it.

  2. Sara says:

    Our culture too often emphasizes the value of words, words and more words. Silence is seen as weakness or stupidity. Thanks for this reminder! And props for the Toad the Wet Sprocket reference!