10 Days Without Speech
The sun is warm but not scorching as I sit around the picnic table with my family and friends. It’s late in the afternoon, and the summer temperature is perfect. Over the past several weeks we have experienced record-breaking heat, but today the temperature is just right — especially as the sun begins to set in the west behind the mountains.
On my left, my wife sits comfortably in a black metal chair with a bright red cushion. You can tell that she is relaxed in the way that her head tilts as she laughs. On the other side of my wife sits our 1-year-old, his cheeks are stained with strawberry juice, and his highchair is covered in the bits and pieces of his supper that didn’t make it to his mouth. Next to him is our 2-year-old who hasn’t said a word since he sat down at the table. We’ve never had a problem with him eating all of his food, and tonight will be no exception. I’ve never seen a kid go through so much pasta!
We are joined, at the table, by some good friends from across town. Sunday afternoons are a great time for fellowship, and having a picnic outside seemed like a perfect way to hang out with them before the work-week started. If laughter, conversation, and loud baby noises are the signs of a good time, than I can tell everyone is delighted to be outside, together, enjoying a beautiful summer evening.
Not everything is as wonderful as it sounds, however, because there is one person who is making things a little awkward — me!
Have you every been a victim of awkward silence? You know that eery quietness that seems to show up around certain extended family members, old girlfriends, or the pastor from the church you left several months ago? Normally I’m the cause of awkward silence because of something I say — like taking a joke too far, or asking someone about their dog to find out it just died (not cool). Tonight, however, I’m the source of awkward silence because I can’t talk.
I love to tell jokes, especially when it’s a dinner party with friends, but tonight, I can’t write fast enough on my whiteboard before the moment passes. Oh ya, have I told you about my whiteboard yet? I have it hanging around my neck like an emblem you would see on a wanna-be-rapper. What can I say, I’m gangsta!
Anyway, it’s a perfect evening, the food is great, the company is great, but I can’t talk — and that’s not cool. At least it’s for a good cause.
I think what makes it awkward is the fact that we just saw this family on Friday night, and I was talking up a storm. Now it’s Sunday, and all they are getting from me is bad spelling. They are graciously trying to adjust and ask me easy yes or no questions, but it’s hard to have a good conversation with yes or no questions — try it.
But that’s what friends are for, right? To put up with our absurdities and wacky ideas? I guess you find out who you’re friends really are when you do something crazy like not talk for 10 days, because where as most people would have avoided me — they brought dinner!
Remember, I’m not just keeping my mouth shut for fun — I’m doing this to make a difference in fighting slavery around the globe. To give to IJM, and help end slavery click here! Help me hit my $325 goal.
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