I chased after them for years. I wanted to hear his words, his thoughts, and his mind until I saw him struggle. Gradually, I realised that words were painfully hard for him to throw and so I stopped wanting, and faced a heart wrenching fact that he was more at ease with silence.
When he struggles to say “Hello,” or “Morning,” his whole body holds its breath to concentrate. His eyes move from side to side like he is looking for something. Perhaps he is looking for the word. It’s in there somewhere, jumbled up in a store that has collected them for thirteen years. It’s jam-packed with words. Sometimes, one or two falls out. Sometimes they get stuck or sound distorted or unclear. Frustration creates anxiety and distress when the shape of the word is not recognised and his attempt at defining his need is misunderstood. That’s the difficultly with words. They have to be understood. They have to match the need to convey the meaning.
He has tried for years and years but words just don’t come easy. They don’t fall out of his mouth like the way they fall out of others. Any word that does, means something. I have watched grown men cry just because a word fell out, a word that really meant something. Not like the gobbledygook that falls out of mouths every day. Much of it means nothing.
We just love to hear ourselves talk. We all have opinions and want to be heard, nothing wrong with that. I strongly believe everyone’s voice has a right to be heard but there are times I get weary of hearing choice words piling up and foaming at the mouth causing nothing but trouble, earache and a swollen ego. His words never do that. They form slowly and take their time, arriving a little later than expected. One by one, they slip out quietly. Sometimes, one or two needs to be forced out, if it is urgent. Most of the time, they have to be prompted and cajoled out. They are usually only uttered spontaneously if his need is greater than his struggle to speak. They tumble from a store full of vocabulary and receptive skills. He can make his needs known, if he wants too, but mostly he chooses silence.
Silence speaks to him. I can hear him listening. The world and I wait to hear him answer. He answers in his own sweet way, mostly in silence. He has taught me silence. Silence is a powerful way to speak when you don’t have the words. Less is more. Even though he struggles with words he still has so much to say. He does not waste the silence. He does not waste words. Words are often wasted, over used and underestimated. Be blessed that you have words. Use them cautiously. Know when to be silent. Words are like stones. Throw them easy. Aox