Breaking Silence

quietSomewhere in my family history I learned to communicate by interrupting. It is rude, I know. I try to moderate but I am not always successful. To be honest, I should probably say that I am rarely successful. I try to wait for a lull in the conversation. But I cannot contain myself. The thoughts that have been collecting within me burst forth like shaken soda on a hot afternoon, usually with more force than the ideas actually warrant.

I have often wondered why it is so hard for me to hold my peace. Perhaps it arises from the conviction that I am right. But I can’t possibly be as right as often as I think I am. Even if I am right, the truth can wait. I will be just as right when there is space enough in the conversation for me to speak.

No, I think the real reason I feel compelled to speak out of turn is out of a fear of not being heard. This has little to do with being right. My interruptions are merely a symptom of a greater existential crisis. I want to be heard because I mistakenly think that being heard is equivalent to being known.

The foolishness of such an equation is evident to me as I write this in solitude. But I know that when I am in conversation and in the company of others, I will see it otherwise. I will break my silence, whether in the heat of the moment or in the tedium of dull discussion. And I will probably regret it later.



Published by

John Koessler

John Koessler serves as professor and chair of the pastoral studies department at Moody Bible Institute. His most recent book is The Radical Pursuit of Rest published by InterVarsity Press.

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