The Truth about Silence

Unless you’re a baby bird, don’t sit around with your mouth open waiting for others to feed you.

A couple of days ago, the RIM/Blackberry service died during the early morning hours. For about 6 hours, I could send but not receive messages.

At first, I was mildly displeased, thinking that this outage served as a teeny tiny inconvenience, like finding a long line at Starbucks in the morning and realizing that “Duh, I’m not the only one who needs my morning fix.” So I waited for the RIM service to return. And I waited.

I’m not a good waiter, you know?  From 5-6 AM, I rolled with it. Starting around 6, though, I felt like I needed to do something to fix the situation. So like the owner of any electronic device in a similar situation, I popped out the battery and blew on it before reinserting it. Then I shut it off and turned it back on several times. Then I slapped it hard in a cross between pounding a pack of cigarettes and trying to dislodge a piece of steak from the throat of the choking victim.

Yeah, that didn’t work. I still had nothing to show for my efforts.

By 7 AM, my hands trembled a little. My mouth felt dry. By 8 AM I contemplated doing a smash-n-grab through the Verizon storefront so I could get a new Blackberry, one that worked, one that had a little tone announcing incoming messages because incoming messages would actually come in and go out the way they should instead of the way mine refused to work. I needed new messages. I needed to have contact with the outside world. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone.

By 9 AM, it was time for me to admit that I had a problem: Hi, my name is Scott, and I’m a Crackberry-olic.

I stepped back to evaluate why this silence bugged me so much.

I could send out messages, but I couldn’t receive them, I could launch validation and support to others, but I couldn’t receive any in return. The only reinforcement available to me came from within me, or it was produced by trying to lift up others. But I felt a little lonely because I guess I didn’t have much in reserve.

What a great reminder to expect nothing. Am I willing to plant own garden and water my own soul? Am I waiting for others to do it for me? And am I willing to give out of my own want and not from my excess?

We all need a boost, a supplement, at times. But do we look for the vitamin of external reinforcement and validation to serve as a substitute for the whole meal? What a terrible way to go: death by starvation.

Pick up your own fork and dig in.  Feed yourself from all of the soul food-groups: honesty, humility, confidence, and a hunger to learn. Look to others for a sip when you’re thirsty, not a feast when you’re famished. And plan on giving to others much more than you receive in return.

That’s how you make your heart and mind ready to dine and receive nourishment.

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