A Thousand Words

Daniel - USA
Entered on December 16, 2008

I’ve always felt that I talked too much, often regretting the many things I’ve said. But never have I ever felt that talking can be so difficult until the moment I found it hardest to speak.

There were only sounds. Sounds of tear drops hitting the floor in a room full of silence and empty of words.

Just him and me. Our minds driven to overdrive, our hearts flooded with pain. Once every few long seconds I’d hear it: a sniffle that would tug me hard from the inside and demand me to speak, to say something… anything. But nothing could come out. I felt weak, stupid, and helpless, but I knew I must stay strong because he needed me to.

My father was crying. I’ve never seen him cry before and nor did I think he could. I’ve always viewed him as impregnable and free of weaknesses. Everything he said was composed of wisdom and everything he said was inspirational. And what’s most admirable is that even though he spoke a lot, he didn’t just speak, he said what he needed to say.

It’s not as easy as it sounds.

I needed to say something but I couldn’t say anything. His father was dying… and looking into my dad’s weary eyes, I saw that mine was too. It was difficult for me to speak or to even utter a sound. I knew what I wanted to say but how I wanted to say it, I didn’t know.

My words were filtered through a language barrier that left nothing on the other side. It was heartbreaking to not be able to find the right words to describe how I felt across to the man who never had a problem describing his feelings to me.

It wasn’t just hard; it felt near impossible.

Leaning over to my right, I wrapped my arms around him, holding a little boy in a grown man’s body. As the sniffles gradually receded and as my shirt soaked up the last of the remaining tears, we held each other, absorbing the spectrum of senses around us.

For that one moment time paused for all the feelings to gather up and smoothly scatter down into a calming mood.

Although no words were spoken, I was content because I knew I had succeeded.

I learned in that moment that words, even the most perplexing ones, don’t exist for every feeling we have. I discovered that speaking means more than just words flowing out of a mouth, more than just a “I love you.” And that touch, the most fundamental form of expression, can transfer even the most abstract feelings, like love, across in even the most difficult situations. With that, we have something special.

We have the power to speak without a sound, a power to communicate with just a touch.

Speaking is easy. Talking can be hard. A simple hug, I believe, speaks more than a thousand words.