We live in a society that does not value or encourage silence or listening. When is the last time you heard someone say, "Let's share some silence?" This kind of statement is rarely heard today, even in church settings or among the most intimate of friends or family.
If we are attentive, we can get back to the important discipline of deep listening -- not only to what others say, but also to the resounding silence that exists between the words. Of course, we can easily "turn up the noise" -- watching more TV, leave the laptop open all the time, keeping the iPod going while exercising, and staying ever busier at work, and being too tired at the end of the day for any real conversation -- doing anything to avoid being still, and listening, and silent.
Specifically, people can get too caught up in their roles, and masks they wear to take the time for reflection and renewal and relationships. Perhaps its easiest for people to concentrate on their to do lists, or the emails they have to write to be in the moment with another. I'm not denying my own gravitation towards doing these things and the rewards that come from a day's hard work - but rather raising the level of awareness that we don't let the day go by without really taking the time to stop and listen and appreciate those we love. It's clear that we all live healthier and happier lives if we slow down and and stop doing things and instead appreciate what really makes up a life worth living. If you take just a moment, and think about what really enhances your life, I bet it's the people in it, not the job, the organization, or the stuff.