“Moments of silence are part of the music.”


It was during one of those interminable 7th grade pre-algebra classes, the kind where Mr. Castine would drone on about the importance of proper equation balancing, that I first truly understood the value of silence. As he waxed poetic about the merits of integers versus fractions, I found myself lost in a moment of pure, blissful quiet. It wasn’t that I had gone deaf or that the universe had mercifully muted him. No, it was a pause, a breath, a momentary lapse in his mathematical soliloquy. And in that silence, I heard… music.

Now, I’m not talking about the literal kind, like the time in college when I attempted to play my roommate’s drum set. Who knew that flailing your arms with wild abandon wasn’t the key to rhythmic success? Instead of a rockstar performance, it sounded more like a stampede of clumsy zebras. But the kind of music I’m referring to exists between the notes, the rests that give meaning to the cacophony of life.

Think about it. If life were a constant stream of noise, we’d all be like my Tio Luchin after his third Pisco Sour: overwhelmed, a tad disoriented, and prone to spontaneous interpretive dance. It’s the silences, the pauses, the breaths between the beats that give our lives rhythm and meaning.

Imagine attending a concert where the pianist played non-stop, without any breaks or pauses. By the end, you’d be begging for a moment of silence, if only to save your eardrums and sanity. But when that pianist delicately lifts their fingers, allowing the notes to linger in the air, that’s when the magic happens. It’s in those quiet moments that we find clarity, reflection, and perhaps a chance to ponder the eternal question: “Why on earth did I wear these uncomfortable shoes?”

So, the next time you find yourself in a situation that demands patience, whether it’s waiting for the kettle to boil, sitting in traffic, or enduring another one of Mr. Castine’s “fascinating” lectures on quadratic equations, remember: these moments of silence are part of the music. They’re the rests in the symphony of life, giving depth and meaning to the melody. And who knows? In those quiet moments, you might just find the inspiration to pen your own mathematical soliloquy.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.