“Shhh. Be berry, berry quiet. We’re hunting wabbits,” says Elmer Fudd. Modern day Elmer might say, “Be berry, berry quiet. We’re hunting happiness!”
When was the last time you shut up? Do you talk in every meeting? Do you share everything you are thinking? When someone shares their thoughts do you automatically tell them of a similar situation you encountered or offer advice? How many times do you interrupt – or even turn your back – before someone is done talking?
The last time I shut up was yesterday. The time before that? I think that was my first time! Our youngest son, Evan, and his girlfriend, Kaitlen, came to our new home for the first time (and were our first visitors). As usual, I spent the first two days asking questions, offering my commentary on every topic (school, weather, work) and generally responding to everything and anything that came out of anyone’s mouth. If there wasn’t any talking, I talked. Then, yesterday as the kids sat on the couch and watched a cable channel their college budget couldn’t afford – just as I was about to add my two cents about how they should be outside enjoying the air – I shut up.
What happened next? Nothing. Just me squirming with the desire to inject syllables, sentences, and Segways. Still nothing. For awhile nothing but I keep my trap shut. Then. Then, my son shared how he was thinking about the big lake – Lake Norman – that is close to us. And, how there is a famous professional fisherman that lives in our area. Then, his girlfriend talked about how they rarely have time for an actual meal, her awesome performance appraisal at work and what her ideas are for her entrepreneur class at school. Advice, ideas, and other chatter bubbled up in my brain but I let them die down like a bottle of open soda loses its fizz. The discomfort of not adding my voice flowed into a peaceful happiness.
What if you stopped hunting wrabbits – the recognition that we all scramble – and just shut up? Maybe you – and me – could actually be heard more deeply if we said nothing at all. “I love you,” said my son when my husband and I dropped them at the airport.