The gift of silence

The gift of silence

"You have a grand gift of silence, Watson," said he (Sherlock Holmes). "It makes you quite invaluable as a companion." -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The  Man with the Twisted Lip"

Is the gift of silence out of stock?

There doesn't seem to be enough silence in the world. Certainly, I don't find myself often enough having enough silence to share with a companion.

When I do get to share silence with someone, that's how it feels -- I get to do it, not I must do it.

There are times, as in the Conan Doyle story from which I've borrowed the phrase, when one person's gift of silence makes him a listener while another thinks aloud, as Doyle set up the scene for Dr. Watson and Holmes.

Yet how delicious it is to share silence -- not because there are things you can't say, but because you don't need to say anything.

The next time you don't have something to say to someone, but don't want to leave, take that as a signal.

Give the gift of silence.

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  • Was Teller of Penn and Teller inspired by the above quotation? Or even Harpo Marx?

  • In reply to jack:

    Well, I guess we'll never know unless one of them wrote it down. Now there's a mystery!

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Well, they weren't talking.

    However, there is a site where Harpo's son did have a discourse on it. Said "Did you know that the ancient Greeks had a god for silence? His name - HARPOcrates! No, I did not make that up."

  • Hard to do these days with all the "noise" surrounding us by technology! Wonderful thought!

  • In reply to Leslie Kahn:

    You are so correct. Maybe silence is a gift we'll have to order!

  • There are things best kept unspoken.
    That silence seals when it's unbroken.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Thank you. You have a grand gift of poetry.

  • A former student who was a Marine came to visit me. When I asked him what he had learned he replied, "The Marines taught me that there are plenty of opportunities to keep my mouth shut." I try to remember that.

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    That's a great way to make it memorable. Thank you!

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