There are happy, contented silences in the world. And there are times when the silence is troubling or unsettling.
There is the silence right after a creak when you’re all alone in a house for the first time. Movies add suspenseful music to heighten the anticipation, but in real life there’s no crescendo to tell you the bad guy is about to jump out. The silence builds.
There is the silence after a surprising trial verdict when disbelief hangs in the air. No one seems quite sure what the next step is. Even the jury members who debated the result sit in absolute silence.
There is the silence after you’ve asked a difficult question and your entire future seems to hang in the balance. When you have no option but to wait, and the terrifying silence reaches out toward eternity even if it is only a few seconds.
There is the silence of despair after bad news. The suspended time that absorbs all sound while you try to absorb a new reality. When you wish for time to fold back on itself and undo the present. When no words form in your mind and your very thoughts are silent.
There is the silence in the stadium after a particularly bad sports injury. The band stops playing, the spectators stop cheering, the players take a knee. The entire community holds its collective breath. The longer the silence, the more serious the injury. There is no rivalry. There is no score. There is no thought except for the player on the ground and the caregivers in attendance. The crowd waits. If the player gets up, the crowd cheers in relief. If the EMTs are brought to the field, the silence stretches. It seems there has never been a silence this loud.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Tillman family and we wish AJ a full and speedy recover.