trust yourself. you're really all you have.

silence is golden


going to law school in louisiana means that you pick up a ton of catholic friends. not that i didn’t have catholic friends already; my hometown is far more catholic than anything else. but LSU is not in east baton rouge county, it’s in east baton rouge parish. most of the catholics i met back in the pelican state were cultural catholics, not part of the religion out of fealty to the dogma, but out of inertia. the friday-night crawfish boils, the ritual, the routine, the that’s what we’ve always done-ness that comes with life.

but a few of these folks are CATHOLIC. i mean, actually saying novenas. keeping ALL the holy days of obligation. latin facebook updates. now, you’d think that people that devout and i would have next to nothing to say to each other. but a few of the very faithful are among my very favorite LSU folks. and we have phenomenal friendships, despite the fact that there are wide swaths of social and cultural policy upon which we will never, ever, EVER agree.

i say all this because one of my oh-so-very-CATHOLIC friends is well into the middle of an eight-day retreat with the jesuits. she is on this retreat to recharge after the bar exam and get centered before work starts. and for eight straight days, she has to remain silent. verbally and mentally silent.

y’all. silence. can you IMAGINE?

she’s been looking forward to this for months, and i’m sure she’s just eating this up like sugar candy. but the very idea of maintaining verbal and psychic silence for that much time? oh my GOD. i can’t decide if it’s peaceful and centering, or if my brain would rise up halfway through the time and eat itself. leaving me alone with my thoughts is often a recipe for chattering, clanging disaster. i should be still. i know this. but i am AWFUL at it. when i’m faced with alone-ness, here’s what happens.

1) problem comes up.
2) hmm. that’s a problem.
3) and here’s a compounding of that problem.
4) and here’s the worst-case scenario.
5) and here’s how, when the worst case comes up, everyone who cares about you will abandon you.
6) here’s the fight you’ll have with all of them.
7) you HATE fighting with people.

lather. rinse. repeat. it cycles over and over and over and… yeah. you get it. so many people love peace and quiet. it makes me panicky and twitchy. so i hope my very CATHOLIC buddy is getting everything she wants out of her silence.

just leave me out of it.

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Author: magnolia

grown-ass woman, solidly 30-something. mobilian by raising, with some louisiana thrown in for lagniappe. fiercely devoted lover of my husband, my friends, and my folks. highly reconstructed southerner. teacher of tax accountants. LSU alum. atheist. peace-loving liberal. recognizer of humanity in all of its forms. non-practicing lawya. sports fan. hopefully friendly and amusing. writer of a whole lot fewer fictions than i used to write.

4 thoughts on “silence is golden

  1. 1) There is an unfortunately small class of very religious people who are just really good people… They make great friends.

    2) I’m one of those strange people who is perfectly fine with silence. More than once, I’ve gotten in the car to drive long distances and driven hundreds of miles before realizing that I was driving in silence. I know I regularly have day’s here and there where I just don’t talk with anyone.

  2. Silence for more than…well, while I’m sleeping. Chilling thought!

  3. Appropriately…I have no words.

  4. I’m not *that* Catholic. My brain would eat itself. Like, within seconds. Wow.

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