Learn to embrace the silence
In the spaces between the words. That’s where the thoughts wait, snug, and safe in their lairs. When the last reverberation of the last word stops falling on your ears, that’s when the thoughts stir, ready to pounce.
As long as the words are there, either yours or someone else’s, spilling out of or into your consciousness, the thoughts stay hidden, afraid to come out. So you strive to keep the words coming, and you beg others with your words to speak theirs, and the sound of the words in your ears is so important that you don’t care that the words are meaningless, only that they make a sound, only that they keep the thoughts away.
But eventually, there is a space between the words. There always is. And if the space is big enough, then the thoughts do come out. And the thoughts have their way with you. They always do. They leave you with what they will, anguish and self-doubt, or whatever is their way.
The thoughts are not you, though. They are of you but they are not you. They cannot define you. You are the one who stands beside the thoughts, separate from them. You are the one who reacts to the thoughts if you let yourself. You are the one who gives the thoughts all of their power if you choose to. But you are not the thoughts.
Remember that you are the one standing beside the thoughts, separate from them, undefined by them, you are not the thoughts. Remember to take away their power because the thoughts are of you but they are not you. Remember not to react to the thoughts, because they hide what’s really in the spaces between the words.
The beautiful silence of the present. And you.
An open letter to Federal, State, County, and Local government employees, and to all people in the United States of America.
We are in crisis. We are in a global pandemic that is unlike any in this century, perhaps in any century. Our leaders cannot guide us out of this. Some who could guide us are not in a position to do so. Many who are in a position to do so are not capable. Some who are in the best position to do so refuse, perhaps to avoid responsibility, perhaps to capitalize on the crisis. Many leaders failed in response to this crisis. Many citizens chose to follow these failed leaders. Because of this, we are all in danger. We must save ourselves.
For this reason, I implore you to ignore anyone who fails to recognize the severity of the situation or who fails to follow the recommendations of the scientific and medical communities. I implore you to do what is right, no matter the consequence. This is our only recourse. No one can save us from this crisis. We must save ourselves. We have no other choice.
If you are a person in the United States, your job is clear. Wear a mask, avoid crowds, and keep your distance. This may be all you can do, but it is enough. If you are a federal, state, county, or local government employee, you are still a person in the United States. You must still wear a mask, avoid crowds, and keep your distance. Do it with conviction.
However, if you are a government employee at any level and the leadership in your branch of government fails to recognize the severity of the situation or fails to follow the recommendations of the scientific and medical communities then you must make noise, question your supervisors, or alert the media. Our only way out of this failure of leadership is to expose the failed leadership at every level of government to the sanitizing rays of sunlight. We need you to do what is right, to do it right now, and to do it now more than ever.
This crisis will pass. We will eventually make a final tally. Future historians will assess our response, but not favorably. I hope you and yours are still here, some of mine are not. If not, rest your souls, and I hope that you chose to do the right thing. Wear a mask, avoid crowds, keep your distance, and expose those who will not. It is that simple.