This came across my Facebook feed this week and I had to share it.
This is one of the hardest things about parenting, for me.
The endless questions. The constant chatter. The nonstop noise.
I’m an introvert. And a contemplative. I think more than I speak and when I speak, I tend to write because the words come out better that way. I enjoy silence. And quiet. I almost “shushed” someone in a library this week, and she worked there! I used to love having music on when the house was quiet as a way to focus my thoughts, but more often than not I now choose silence.
In the devotional I’m reading right now, Blessed Are You, the meditations open and close with a call for silence and stillness before the Lord. And sometimes I laugh when I read it because silence and stillness just aren’t part of my life right now. “Mom, mom, mom, I need …” are sometimes the first words of the day. And with a potty-training 2-year-old in the house, just when I’m about to start something or relax for a moment, the urge hits and we’re running to the bathroom to avoid “clean-up on aisle 9.”
Even if I could find time for silence, cutting out the noise altogether is increasingly difficult. Every spring and summer, when we’re able to throw open the windows and let fresh air in, my husband and I are surprised at how noisy things are outside. Suddenly we can hear the train and every car that drives by with music blaring and people and kids walking by. None of which are bad things, mind you, but summer is a season for noise.
Winter, on the other hand, is much quieter. When I was working a full-time job outside the home, before marriage and babies, I liked to pause on the front steps of my parents’ house in winter as I left the house, breathe deep, and relish the quiet.
In winter there is a stillness unmatched by any other season. Life emerges in spring. And flourishes in summer. And begins the descent to death and dormancy in autumn. And in winter, all is quiet. Animals sleep and burrow. Humans huddle in their homes. Nature rests.
There are a lot of things I dislike about winter, but the quietness of it is not one of them.
Our life with two kiddos, a job hunt, writing deadlines and the general stuff of life is painfully noisy. And I yearn for quiet. Although it makes me uncomfortable. When the kids were with their grandparents for a week earlier this month, our house was unnaturally quiet. And it disturbed me. Maybe because it leaves my ears open to hear from God, who is quieter than I’d like Him to be right now. Or maybe I’m the one drowning Him out.
A friend of ours talks about spending days in silence while visiting a monastery. And how youth groups come to the monastery to spend time in silence. How uncomfortable and refreshing I imagine something like that would be.
For now, though, I know I must seek out silence. Silence will not come to me. It won’t just happen. If I need it, I need to make it happen. Turn off the TV or the music. Wake up early. Or sit outside before the demands of the day take over.
Are you a silence seeker? How do you find time and space for it in your day?