The Sound of Silence

By: Lori Walker

(3 min read)

There are songs with rhythms that inspire you to dance. Some have catchy refrains that compel you to sing. And then there are timeless classics with lyrics that will move your soul.

“Hello, darkness, my old friend…I’ve come to talk with you again…”

In 1963, I feel that aspiring songwriter, Paul Simon, wasn’t searching for glory or fame. I want to believe he wrote his words as a release of his emotions, never knowing how far his words would reach.

In fact, in the irony of this song, Simon & Garfunkel’s debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. was a commercial flop. Feeling defeated after the loss, Simon returned to England, and Garfunkel resumed his studies at Columbia University.

However, people WERE listening. In 1965, when it attracted airplay in Boston and throughout Florida, producer Tom Wilson created a remix without the band’s knowledge. By January 1966, it hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The duo reunited for their second album, Sounds of Silence.

So, what is it about this epic song that moves people so deeply?

I believe it is our shared experience of loneliness. The isolation we feel when we are disconnected from others. We want to reach out so badly, but many people stop for fear of rejection or judgment.

In the last few months, silence knocked on my door three separate times.

I thought this was going to be the summer of my dreams. After nearly twelve years, I quit my second job back in March. I was finally going to get some much-needed rest and relaxation, spend time with my family and finish all those projects I’ve always wanted to do.

May and June were great! But, by July, things rapidly declined. Sure, I had adjusted my spending accordingly – cutting out fast food, prepping meals in advance, and avoiding unnecessary shopping trips. I was maintaining, but there was no extra money to throw at my debt or travel the way I wanted to.

Because I was comparing my life to others, I became extremely depressed. I didn’t want to burden anyone with my self-imposed problems. What could they do for me anyway?

In restless dreams, I walked alonenarrow streets of cobblestone…

While all this was going on, I also lost the friendship of someone who was very dear to me. In hindsight, I should have seen things sooner, reacted differently and perhaps tried harder to mend the relationship.

“But my words, like silent raindrops fell…and echoed in the wells of silence…”

To top it off, I began to withdraw from social media. I began to measure the amount of likes and comments with my self-worth. I began to wonder, am I longing for validation or sincere, heartfelt connection?

Slowly, I started pulling myself up from the sadness. I reached out to a few of my trusted besties (many of whom admonished me for waiting so long!) I began to focus on the training courses for my new side business. And I joined a women’s coaching community that is amazingly supportive! But most importantly, I stopped viewing silence as a hostile consequence. It became clear that it could be a gift.

For as long as I can remember, I always had to be “doing something.” I never considered myself a homebody. My FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) resulted in overspending. Now, I have time to spend on one of my greatest passions, our family’s genealogy.

I’ve learned that people will come and go in your life. An unanswered text is also an answer.

And when it comes to social media, I’ve created a mantra that calms my heart. “All I can do is trust that my words will reach someone who needs to hear them.”

How we deal with each type of silence is as individual as our souls.

Paul Simon’s lyrics remind us that while we may think we are alone, we are not. We are more alike than different. And we need each other more than ever before.

So, I encourage you to reply to that text, like or comment on someone’s post or call someone you haven’t heard from in a while. Your words may be all someone needs to break The Sound of Silence.

Lori Walker
All Things Wellness, LLC

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