A Moment of Silence


It is said that silence is golden, but I believe it is even more precious than gold.  In a world of incessant noise from every corner of the world, a moment of silence is a rarity, and I have come to relish those moments.  Some of those moments are more poignant than others, and I was so blessed to enjoy one such very poignant moment yesterday.

On any given day, at any given moment, there are well over one hundred people in the day shelter for homeless men where I work, and there is the constant noise of people talking and laughing, phones ringing, the hum of the washing machines and dryers, “Law & Order” reruns on the television, people being paged on the intercom, and many more familiar sounds that provide the background for my work day.  I always marvel how bittersweet the silence is before the men come in each morning and after they leave each afternoon.  Silence between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. is non-existent, but yesterday at 9:30 a.m., everyone there joined the rest of the nation in pausing for a moment of silence to honor and remember the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings a week earlier. We also paused to remember the twenty-nine men, members of our day shelter family, who died in 2012, and whom few other people would remember.

As we all gathered together and silenced ourselves, the mood became somber, as we thought of all of those lives lost, the people we knew only from television reports and those we knew personally.  The staff took turns reading each name of the twenty-nine men who died, and I felt my eyes fill with tears, as I remembered some of the men who had touched our lives, especially two of the men who had been in one of permanent supportive housing programs, the most recent one having passed away on Monday evening.  The names of our guys may not be as well-known as those we also remembered, but they are every bit as precious.  Every life has meaning, and every life lost should be both celebrated and mourned. 

We honored and remembered those lives lost forever and their memory which lives on, and we closed our moment of silence with a song that is a favorite at the day shelter and so appropriate for this occasion, “Silent Night”.  Just like the other day when it was spontaneously sung by a small group of men, it was a truly beautiful moment and fitting to break the silence.  Hearing all of those voices singing in unison was the sweetest tribute ever, and I am so humbled to have been there to be a part of it.  There’s no other place I would rather have been at that moment indeed.  Sleep in heavenly peace.

That’s another story . . .

Categories: That's Another Story

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