“Sometimes we need silence. Not always, but definitely sometimes. If we will comply, if we will receive the moments of quiet contemplation and rest, we might be surprised by what emerges. As much as I didn’t want to engage in the art of shutting up, the solitude offered me gifts I had never, ever received. …
“Like a desert windstorm, life is often unruly — wild, fierce, and howling. By choosing the stiller and smaller world of voice rest and life rest and mind rest and body rest, I somehow chose the stiller, smaller voice of God.” [Leeana Tankersley, Found Art, pg. 58]
Reading these words last night sparked an image of a future me, flashed upon the deepest places of my heart. It stirred within me something profound — full of wonder and sadness. It’s difficult to hold seemingly opposing emotions in the palms of upturned hands; it leaves me stranded, sometimes, without hands to dig or reach or overturn.
Pondering Leeana’s words made me shifty and unsettled, in part because the silence I think of is not a “day-at-the-spa” invited silence. It’s the uninvited kind that invades me. I thought about what my life will be like in two short years, after doors close and school buses chug past, picking up my children and packing away their unscheduled, snuggly, lazy days with mommy.
I tried to imagine the inevitable future silence of our home. Clocks clicking. Dishwasher swishing. Laundry churning. Dog scratching. And me: alone.
It isn’t the “silence” itself that frightens me. Or, as the author of Found Art alludes to, the scary reintroduction of yourself to yourself, although I will need a hefty reintroduction to be sure.
It’s the slow slipping away of these days. These very present days–which, of course, will lead to silent ones spread out like an icy mantle: slippery and unfamiliar, forcing me to walking with unsteady feet. It’s the acidic, stinging feeling that I’m losing them–that I’m losing my kids.
And I know that’s not really true–in fact, many days I celebrate our freedom to run around without diapers and bottles and cumbersome car seats.
Yet their smallness is going away.
Their fingers are losing those squishy dimples.
My son listens to ESPN radio and wants “cool” clothes from the mall.
My daughter is growing like a weed and can barely fold herself up enough to fit on my lap.
And my youngest…I just noticed today how he surpassed a bulletin board at our library. He wants “spiky” hair and a “gas-powered dirt bike.”
The silence I’m pushing against is the uninvited kind that erupts from the slow stream of hours and days and years. A time to come when kids are busy with friends and sports and social lives that don’t include me. When I’m at home –in silence– pleading with the walls to give me back the sound of laughter from tiny voices.
I’m not ready to lose all those tender moments yet. I’m not ready to give up on snuggles and kisses and tickle fights.
I’m not ready for that kind of silence.
PS: My “official” review of Leeana’s book is on the way, courtesy of The Blog Tour Spot and Zondervan Publishers.