by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

(Chapter 31 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Blue Denim and Lace)

Some of the most beautiful expressions of love are expressed by silence. One may be reading a newspaper while another is putting a crossword puzzle together on the floor, but nothing is being said. Some of the sweetest expressions of love and devotion ever given were given by silence.

Just what does silence say? In the first place, silence says what the silent man is. If love exists between two people, silence then is an expression of that love. The bitter heart stores up bitterness in its silence. The selfish heart stores up envy in its silence. The loving heart exudes love in its silence.

Silence between friends says that one's presence is enough. There are millions of places that one could be, but when he chooses from all other places one place, and from all other people one person to share with him that place, even his silence speaks volumes of tender expressions of love. In such silent moments in private sanctuaries one's silence says to his friend, "Your presence is enough." When two people choose to be alone together, each is honored by the other above all men during the moments spent together.

Silence between friends also speaks confidence, for there is no need for one to impress the other. The friendship has already been sealed under God, and there are no more worlds to conquer. This kind of friendship does not take for granted its friend, but rather continues to express love, affection, and gratitude. This expression, however, is not an attempt to impress, for impressions have already been made that will last for life.

This kind of silence says something else. It says, "Dear Friend, I do not have to gain assurance from you of your love. That assurance is spoken to me so often and shown to me so well. My silence with you tells you that I am assured of your love." True friendship need not be reconfirmed daily. It should be perennially expressed and demonstrated. Since "perfect love casteth out fear," often silence can say, "I am assured of your love, and I am assured of your friendship." True friendship does not decide every day whether it should continue or not. It does not decide every week. It does not decide every month. It does not decide every year. It does not decide even twice! True friendship is God-given and is conditioned by the heart of the lover, not by the traits of the loved. Hence, when God places in the heart of one a true friendship for another, peace, assurance, and security is offered even though not recognized.

Recently I said to one of my daughters, "Daddy loves you, Honey."

She looked up to me and said, "I know it."

Perhaps I had not told her for a few days, but I had so demonstrated that love and expressed that love that even in the silence, I was assuring her that I love her.

Once in a cartoon "Dennis, the Menace" sat down in the barber's chair, looked up at the barber, and said, "What do you say we just don't say nothing today!" As I laughed I thought that perhaps the excessive talking by many barbers is caused by a lack of confidence in their work. This is not to say that a barber should not talk to his customer. It is to say, however, that talk should not have to be forced by the one who applies his trade well.

Though expressions of love, gratitude, and affection are always in order and should be offered, many times the silence of a quiet meal, the silence of the wife sewing while the husband reads the newspaper, the silence that is broken only by the twinkle of an eye, the touch of an arm, or the squeeze of a hand says more than words. Thanks be to God that when people love each other even their silence speaks of that love.


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