There’s a children’s book I love called Quiet. The beautiful and contemplative book was written in 2018 by legendary author-illustrator Tomie DePaola, just a few years before his passing. Tomie DePaola narrated some of my favorite picture books as a child, but this book is decidedly different.In the story, a grandfather walks with his two grandchildren, pointing out the busyness in nature around them and gently encouraging the children to find comfort in their own quiet moments. Every time I pick up this book, which owns a special spot in my younger daughter’s room, I’m reminded just how important a message it is for today—a message for adults as much as it is for children. The birds are flying so fast, the dragonfly is zooming over the water—even the trees are waving their leaves. So what if we sit here, you next to me…and we can just be? Ironically perhaps, I’ve called this series Finding the Words, but sometimes there are no words to be found. Sometimes, the best words are none at all. Sometimes the things we’re processing and experiencing and feeling are so great that there is nothing we can say to fill the air with anything better than quiet. Mindfulness—being quiet, still, and present with one another—is a very special thing. As I’ve learned and been reminded so many times in recent years, that stillness—at it’s best, peacefulness—can also be a luxury, for the millions of people who at any given moment don’t have the ability to control the noise: in our own heads, in the streets of a beloved city, in the halls of a hospital. The sounds of life can be the most beautiful, and the most overwhelming. Sitting in the quiet can sometimes be just what we need most. In the quiet, I can hear. In the quiet, I can think. To reflect, to discern, to understand, to mourn. Sometimes, no words are the best. When you find yourself in a moment like this, sit in the silence. Let it guide you. The words will find you when it’s time.
This is week 12 of the Finding The Words column, a series published every Wednesday that delivers a dose of communication insights direct to your inbox. If you like what you read, we hope you’ll subscribe to ensure you receive this each week.