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.)

About Iain De Jong

Leader. Edutainer. Coach. Consultant. Professor. Researcher. Blogger. Do-gooder. Potty mouth. Positive disruptor. Relentless advocate for social justice. Comedian. Dad. Minimalist. Recovering musician. Canadian citizen. International jetsetter. Living life in jeans and a t-shirt. Trying really hard to end homelessness in developed countries around the world, expand harm reduction practices, make housing happen, and reform the justice system. Driven by change, fuelled by passion. Winner of a shit ton of prestigious awards, none of which matter unless change happens in how we think about vulnerability, marginality, and inclusion.

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