LOVE IS SILENT
(author of “Love, Stage Left,” “Don't Let the Light Go Out,” and “Happily Ever After, After All”)
Love is silent. Love is kisses hello and hugs good-bye, love is looks across music stands and smiles in the hall. Love is waltzing badly on balconies while the band plays below. Love is gifts left to be found and notes stuck in books, texts late at night, words written instead of spoken aloud. Love is waiting. Love is staying. Love is sitting close by, holding hands, being present, letting your love know you need them, want them, see them, even when they don't see/need/want themselves. Love is sight and memory, touch and scent. Love is the anxiety of absence turning to the certainty of constancy. Love is a cat on your head in the middle of the night. A dog on your chest, a hamster on your shoulder, a bird in your hair. Love is stories, structured by the life you lead, an invisible dance choreographed every hour. Love is the silence in music, the space between notes, the pause in the chords when you catch your breath and wait for resolution. It is the floating peace of coming together, the cascade of feeling after realization. Love is standing alone in a snowy parking lot at the top of the world. It is driving through darkness, staring at stars, knowing the world and loving it anyway. Love is intuition, synchronicity, muscle memory and conscious thought. Love is creation. Love is smiling through concerts and shoveling snow. Love is accompaniment. Love is support, comfort, the end of the day. Love is destruction, and recreation. Love is community, and communal feeling, the swell in your chest from a song in the crowd. Love is everywhere in the world, if you choose to be it. Love is present when you speak, but love is louder when you listen.
Be still and know that you are loved.
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Hanukkah is a holiday particularly given to silent contemplation. (Most Jewish holidays are, on some level. Silent meditation is built right into the liturgy, a time for personal communion with the Divine.) I once attended a meditation where participants contemplated the chanukiyah candles, watching the flames burn down one by one, just as Ray and Josiah do in my Hanukkah story, “Don't Let the Light Go Out” (Dreamspinner Press Bah Humbug 2016 Advent Calendar). In the story, Ray Fine is dealing with depression, mourning the death of his partner from AIDS, and avoiding all reminders of Hanukkah. So much of depression is about silence: the silence of stigma, the silence of keeping things to ourselves and pretending, the silence inside our own minds. Finding a partner while dealing with depression is not only about finding someone to bring us out of ourselves, but about finding someone who is willing to join us in the silence when we need them.
Whoever can name the L.M. Montgomery novel from which this quote comes will win a free e-book copy of “Don't Let the Light Go Out.”
“If you can sit in silence with a person for half an hour and yet be entirely comfortable, you and that person can be friends. If you cannot, friends you'll never be and you need not waste time in trying.”
Post your best guess in the comments, and the winner will be drawn on 1st January 2017. Good luck, be well, and chag sameach Chanukah!