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When I first started working at the church, alone and all by myself, I was surprised at how quiet the church could be. Silence was everywhere! The only sounds were from outside of the church like cars driving by on the street, birds singing, AC units coming on, and the train horn (and if you are wondering, I have not heard any ghostly noises). Normal noises that are everywhere around our homes and jobs, but you might not hear them for all the other sounds around you. In all the hours of my teaching days, I don't think I ever heard these types of noises. Children's voices and the sounds from the classroom next door covered up these sounds. Most of the time when I drove home, I would not turn on the radio just so I didn't have to listen to anything. Silence was a welcome sound.

The first months when I started working at the church, I enjoyed the silence. With no sound distractions, it was easy to focus and get comfortable with my new routine. I would go into the sanctuary to enjoy the quietness and to see the shapes of the cut glass in the stained-glass windows and enjoy the light shining through. Although silence is good, you can get too much of a good thing. It was then, too quiet, and this had the opposite effect, I had trouble staying focused. I was given speakers and had them hooked up to my computer, so then I could listen to music. I even figured out how to listen to podcasts. This was also about the time that I started bringing my dog, Crosby, with me to work. He was and still is good company, but he doesn't say too much. Silence then became a feeling of loneliness and isolation. But then, the church hired Rick Baggett as our part-time minister and Thursdays became a noisy day. I enjoyed the mix of quiet days and noisy days.

Chas has now been here over two years. Now my workdays sound like most office workdays. There are zoom meetings, phone calls and the sounds the copier makes when printing copies. We both have our routines for each day and when we are both on task, it is really quiet. I don't hear the sounds all around me. But one thing I have noticed is that when Chas is not in the office, it seems quieter than it was when I first started. The sounds I heard when I first started, I now hear again, and they seem louder than before. The feelings of loneliness and isolation come screaming back. This makes me value the working relationship I have with Chas and appreciate the relationships I had with the teachers and the administration of Paoli Schools. Silence has helped me appreciate even more what I have now at the church.



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