This I Believe

Jessica - Walnut Cove, North Carolina
Entered on November 30, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Listening to the Silence

Silence. Its such a simple word, but such a complex thing. In the society we live in today its very hard to find the silence amongst the commotion of everyday life. In fact, some people create noise to avoid the stillness of the quiet. No matter how busy the world is and how loud it becomes, I believe that it is in the quiet that I find myself.

I used to let the radio play in the mornings while I was getting ready for school. I left the television on while talking on the phone at the same time. I carried my iPod with me everywhere I went. I avoided the silence. I avoided it because I knew that when it was quiet, there was nothing to do but think. Think about more complex things than what happened on last night’s episode of Laguna Beach, or what I was going to wear to school tomorrow.

My freshman year in high school was when I realized that I was lost. My parents, teachers, and friends all wanted different things from me. I didn’t know where to begin making the right choices. I tried to look for the answers in the noise. I listened to everyone but myself, and that was nothing but a mistake. I tried so hard to meet the expectations of everyone else that I forgot about myself. I was constantly stressed and never really felt like what I was doing was good enough. After about the first six months of high school I was tired, and I knew something had to change.

It was then that I discovered the power of silence. The radio was blaring, my phone was ringing, and my head was killing me. I unplugged the radio, turned off my phone, and sat in silence. I sat still in the quietness and listened. I remember thinking to myself, “What’s all this really about? Is this what life is supposed to be like?”. For the first time I realized I was going about things the wrong way. I had been so worried about pleasing everyone else that I forgot what was important: being myself. In that moment of stillness I came to the conclusion that life is about having fun, doing things I enjoy, and making decisions based on my own personal opinions. The distractions of the world made me forget that, but the silence reminded me.

The beauty of silence is that its not connected to anything material. It can be what you want it to be. Sometimes my quiet time consists of listening to myself and writing down my thoughts, other times it includes prayer and spiritual guidance. However you decide to use the gift of silence, you will always find yourself. If you take away the distraction of noise, you will be left with the pureness of yourself in the silence.