I saw the Academy Award winning movie The Artist this weekend. Wowzer. In this world of CGI, 3-D, surround sound madness, someone actually dared to make a silent movie. Might I say … bravo!

Not just because it was gutsy and completely creative. But, for me at least, because it was an excellent reminder of how expressive silence can be. That movie was able to say more with a single raised eyebrow than most movies do with two and a half hours of dialogue.

They proved without a doubt that a great smile can light up a screen more brightly than any Technicolor. That really great acting has the power make you feel like you are right there in the moment in a way 3-D never will.  And that computer generated critters and creatures will never create a world more magical than really loving someone.

This movie made it very clear that special effects are a poor replacement for good, old-fashioned specialness. And for my money, the same can be said off the big screen as well.

Special effects seem to have taken over on the stages of our lives as well. For example, how white our teeth are trumps how often we smile. And the way we look in our clothes has taken priority over the way we feel in our skin. Special effects are so dang good at sweeping us up into the razzle dazzle. And hey, I’m the first to admit a little razzle dazzle can be a blast. But in the end, even the most dazzling dodads fade. And when they do, we are left with the simple truths.

Like where you got your fancy education will never matter as much as what you were willing to learn during the times when life brought you to your knees. How big your bicep is will never matter as much as weather or not you’re strong enough to hold a friend. And the size of the rock on your finger can’t possibly shine any brighter than the love that made you pop the question or say yes in the first place.

This movie was such a great reminder of the beauty inherent in simplicity and silence. Seems to me that between cell phones and Facetime and texts and instant messages, life has turned into one big Talkie. The silent moments, like the silent films, seem to have become a thing of the past.

And you know what? I think we miss it. There’s a reason the words peace and quiet go hand in hand. And that deep down, we are all yearning for the great cosmic librarian in the sky to say “SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” and quiet down this blockbuster we call life.

I think somewhere deep down we know silent and simple are keys to contentment.

That thought brings to mind one of my most favorite pieces of writing. It’s called Desiderata. And it, like this movie, is such great reminder. And, might I add, a great way to start the week. Have a great one, everybody!


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. 
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
 Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
 Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

©2002 The Book of Duh, Merry Carole Powers and Sarah Lorraine Feit


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