They say you don’t miss something until it is gone.
Well, I didn’t realize how much I use my voice, until I lost it last week after getting a cold on vacation.
It happened a few days after kissing the Blarney Stone in Cork, Ireland. Kissing the Stone is supposed to give the person the “gift of gab.” I don’t need this gift because I like to talk. But, I kissed the Stone anyway, just for the experience.
The Stone is placed in the wall at the top of Blarney Castle (see picture below). To get to it, you have to climb all the way to the top of the Castle on a very tight spiral staircase. Once you get to the top, individuals line up for a chance to kiss this stone. It is not easy to do, and there is real risk involved.
The Stone is not easy to reach. If you want to kiss it, you have to: lie on your back overlooking the edge of the Castle wall; stretch out flat, bending your head, neck, and upper torso backward over the edge with your legs being held in place by the Castle’s staff. Then, you lower yourself downwards from the top of the Castle, holding onto bars. You can then kiss this stone. There are only a few metals bars separating you from the ground far below. It is a bit scary, but totally safe.
I didn’t get the “gift of gab” from kissing the Blarney Stone, but something did happen to me a couple of days later. I lost my voice. It hurt for me to talk, so I made sure that what I was saying was important. I learned the “gift of silence” or should I say the “value of silence.”In our Western culture, it seems silence is viewed as negative. We use the term “akward silence.” If you are silent, you can be thought of as: lacking interest, unwilling to communicate, hostile, shy, anxious, etc. I used think like this and filled in silence with noise. It appears that I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts. However, through losing my voice, I learned to appreciate the silence.
Instead of talking for the rest of the trip and filling the silence with noise, I switched my attention to listening to others, taking in the beautiful scenery around me, and focusing on my inner thoughts. When I had to talk, I said what I needed to say in a concise way to reduce the strain on my throat.
Valuing silence made a world of difference! My challenge to myself for this coming year is to incorporate more time for silence and reflection into my daily life and relationships.