The Silence


There is a silence that stills and calms, that builds and creates. A stillness that makes space for the Spirit, for the self, for the tender work of undoing, for the plowing under of tired ideas. Yes, please. I want to sign on for that kind of silence, the one that opens and releases.

There is also a silence that kills, whether by intention or not, it kills. We went to a matinee yesterday and saw a truly magnificent film called, “Railway Man,” starring Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgard. Rarely have I seen such a powerful depiction of the kind of silence that kills than the one we saw in this moving true story about the power of forbidden memories to permanently cripple the human spirit. Only when he looks hard at the past is the railway man free from it.

The past few days, I have been brought low by a different kind of silence, this one the silence of neglect and privilege and a profound unwillingness to look at what is truly ugly in this world. On April 14, nearly 300 young women, living at a boarding school in Nigeria, were kidnapped by a terrorist military group, taken off into the night, most of them never to be seen again. The western news media, at least on our continent, was silent. 

There has been a lot of noise about Donald Sterling, some of it deserved. There has been a lot of coverage about the downed Malaysian airliner that will not be found. There has been a lot of deafening silence about these girls, the hope for the future, the brightest and the best. They were taken because they had the audacity to try and grow, to learn, to become fully human. They were taken because they are girls and therefore ‘deserve’ nothing better than to be sold on the open market. Until the last few days, there has been not one word about any of it.

And yet, we spend so many words on old men with foul mouths, on ‘beautiful’ people with way too much money and way too little intelligence. We — and I mean ME — don’t hear what we don’t like, don’t see what we don’t want to see, and try to protect ourselves from the terrible truth that humankind is capable of immense evil, and that such evil, left unremarked, will destroy everything and everyone in its path.

Yesterday’s matinee was a reminder that the underbelly must be looked at, reckoned with and walked through if there is to be hope for wholeness. So some of us are choosing to highlight this truth by doing a small act of . . . silence.

In honor of these young women, remembering that each and every one has a mother desperate for reunion, several of us who blog regularly will go silent on Mother’s Day. This blog is one of those, and it will not be accessible for those 24 hours. Instead, there will be a link to a magnificent post written by Deidra Riggs (and made available through the technical and empathetic abilities of Lyla Lindquist) which outlines why we’re observing this silence on this day. 

Silence in the blogosphere does not mean silence in our hearts, in our minds, even in our mouths. So, I encourage you to pray, to sign petitions, to speak the truth in love and bring these girls — and all those who are captive — to freedom, to home, to hope.

Get a personal letter from Diana twice a month

Sign up for *More Wondering. . . * a monthly personal letter from Diana to you, available only to email subscribers. As thanks, receive a copy of Diana's new ebook,30 Ways of Aging Gracefully.

powered by TinyLetter

To receive blog posts in your inbox, sign up below.


  1. I am joining the silence – though not being WordPress I can’t do the blog referral thing…

  2. So grateful for the community of friends who call something more out of me. Thank you, Diana, for your friendship, and for your generous heart. This post made me cry.

    • Thank you for thinking of this – so grateful to take a tiny step in support of this horrific situation. Love to you, D.

  3. Thank you Diana for keeping us thinking about these girls. I don’t like to imagine my girls in this situation, but there are fathers and mothers for whom this is a reality – they have no choice. Yes, there are some pretty silly things that are called “news” and it is good to pay attention to something as important as the lives of these girls. Thank you. I’ll try to do my comments on blogs tonight.

    • Thanks for your encouragement and support, Newell. I can’t imagine my daughters or granddaughters in such a terrible situation – and these girls shouldn’t be, either.

  4. Oh yes. I am going silent, too. Thank you for this.

    • You’re welcome? I wish I didn’t have to sign onto this sad project, but I’m grateful that Deidra has organized us enough to make space for this small statement of solidarity.

  5. It has been regularly in the news on this side of the world, since the kidnapping happened. Such an awful, terrible thing – and I am so glad to see people standing up, trying to shame their governments into action.

    • I think I need to start watching BBC News – because then we might hear some of the more important international news. It’s getting worse and worse here.

  6. I have seen coverage of this horrific event on FOX News here in the USA. I agree with Newell above. I can’t imagine being one of the parents of those girls. Such worry and fear no mother or father should have to endure. Such evil is incomprehensible.

    • The news channels have been ‘shamed’ into coverage by the sort of grass roots noise being made in social media and that’s a very good thing. Thanks for reading, Nancy.