I send them off with a “Walk fast” and “Don’t be grouchy.” At last, there is silence. But these first few moments of quietness as I watch them walk to the street corner are merely an illusion.
The truth is, if I were to lock myself in my bedroom and hide my head under my pillow, silence would be as illusive then as if I were to seek it in a Bombay train station.
The main culprit is my internal assistant, AKA – my brain. And I talk to myself. A lot. Much to my children’s chagrin. For years my daughter thought I was talking to Jesus. Actually, I’m just working things out in my head.
While I am working them out, I like to walk our local bike path and just be quiet. No iTunes, or audio books – just me and my brain in the “silence.” I talk to God for a while. I think. I blog in my head. Here too, the silence is an illusion just as it is in my home, or car, or church or anywhere else. A whole day of duties awaits me and the internal assistant is an expert at keeping my mind a step ahead, preparing me.
Though I labor, she is never satisfied. After the cleaning and shopping and Halloween Bingo playing and more cleaning and office work and dinner out and more Halloween Bingo, I LONG for silence and solitude. I bundle the children off to the upstairs and say, “Stay.”
The truth is, I am raising four girl humans and they talk. A lot. Usually at the same time. Sometimes they get annoyed that a sister is talking at the same time as them. Then they whine. Then they stop talking because they are whining because they want to be talking.
My head spins like a Bingo cage.
I become aggressive in my search for silence. From a floor away I still hear their shrill tones raised in play (?) argument (?) It won’t be long until I hear, “MOM!” cried out from the top of the stairs.
Do they need me? Doubtful. They just want to know I’m around.
I occasionally wonder if the silence I seek is even out there. Would I need to be stranded on a boat alone in the middle of the ocean for weeks and weeks with no sound save the lapping of the waves against my raft to find the silence? Would the internal assistant finally use her vacation days? I wonder.
I wonder what I would find in the silence.
I wonder if I am capable of silence. I’m not talking about survival. This is Life. This is living. It’s parenting, providing, creating, building relationships, resting, loving. I think about what would have to occur for me to find a place where my mind was free to be silent, were it possible. Would I give up conversations in the car with my children – the place where the most significant and meaningful discussions in our family occur? Would I give up nights of Halloween Bingo when I should be cleaning or working (or blogging) to find it?
At what cost would I obtain this illusive silence?
I imagine it would be more than I am willing to sacrifice. The joy in the midst of the noise sustains me.
This is life. This is a journey. I suppose I must walk a little faster and try not to be grouchy along the way…
I was inspired to write this post for Tuesday at Ten. Prompt word: Silence. This post was difficult for me to write, I had to push myself to make it happen and that’s not bad. Reflecting on silence helped me obtain a smidgen of clarity in my usually cluttered mind to focus, not just on what inspires me and flows outward all on its own, but to work with minimal inspiration and create something that is still me. Whew.