I've been shutting up a lot, lately. There's more to hear, if you close your mouth, and you never have to worry about what to say. Instead you sit with the silences. They are golden and contented and fluffy; they overrun your ears. The more I shut up, the more I like it, and I've decided to take a big step. Next year, instead of continuing with my job, I'm going to spend a couple of months on silent retreat at a monastery in the southern part of Indiana. I'm not sure what will come of it, but whatever it is, it'll be quiet.
So there's the plan. After sitting on it a while, I decided I needed to share it with you today. Today, April 1, 2009.
OK, OK, that was a cheap stunt. It was cheap because April Fools is a cheap holiday, a cheating holiday, a boyfriend who picks a half-dead bouquet of flowers out of the trash and tells you he picked them himself. I detest April Fools. It joins a lengthy list of holidays that disagree with me: I'm a picky celebrator. Why celebrate Halloween when life is scary enough? Why celebrate Valentine's Day when love should be a year-round proposition? And why celebrate having the wool pulled over your eyes when deception is everywhere?
It's scary, being deceived. You feel as if a trap door has opened in the floor of the universe and you've fallen through into the dark. You thought the lane was empty. You thought he was your friend. You thought if you did everything right, if you tried your best and were kind-hearted and industrious and careful and said I love you, it would all be OK. A friend of mine recently ended a relationship in part because her partner had been withholding information. She said afterwards she felt literally shaken, as if the whole of her past, her present, and her future had been seized and jostled until it broke.
So why, in God's name, do we dedicate a day to the wholesale bamboozling of others? I'd guess it's for the same reason we buy false fangs and bite each others' necks come October. If you name your fear, if you engage it head on, it loses power.
See you in the refectory. Wave; don't speak.