From the day I strung my first sentence together, it seems as though I have never been at a loss for words. It was the words of the countless books I read as a child that kept me from going mad within my desperate surroundings. It was the enchanting tales of other children, stuck in situations far worse than my parents’ unhappy marriage, that allowed me to dream that everyone deserved some happiness in their lifetime. Some got their happiness in steady drips throughout their lives; other got a jolt of it in the later half.
As I got older, words- lots of words, kept my mind busy. It helped drown out the vicious voice of my ever critical subconscious forever chastising me. If my words made you laugh, your laughter soothed me. If I made you laugh, I couldn't be all that bad.
I know that the ability to communicate is an incredible gift. But in my life, there have been times when words have been inadequate, at best. Walking down the aisle and seeing my smiling groom waiting for me. Finding out I was pregnant. Seeing a tiny blip that was my unborn child's heart. Seeing my firstborn son for the first time. Witnessing my father passing from this Earth. Finding out I was pregnant a second time. Seeing my second son for the first time. Finding out I was pregnant a third time. Seeing my precious last baby's face for the first time.
The list is endless...
How can you put into words the emotions that threaten to pull you under, both in good and bad ways? In that raging sea of emotions, words are like flotation devices; they help keep you above water, but they will not swim you to shore.
But what good are words if they are mindless sounds that escape bodies, with no real purpose? What happens when there is no feeling, no meaning behind them? What is the point? Yet, I have been responsible for more noise pollution than I am comfortable to admit. I am not proud of myself.
Perhaps it was having children, but I began to look forward to the brief instances when there was a bit of quiet in the house. Granted, too much silence (is there such a thing if you are a parent?) would put me in panic mode. Surely, anyone who has a child knows that too much quiet usually means a hurt child, a super-clogged, overflowing toilet, or an unauthorized masterpiece on pristine walls.
Still, silence amongst adults was incredibly uncomfortable.
And then, a gift. I was assigned a single classroom to myself. No teaching partner to share the space. Planning time with no one in the room with me. I was forced into quieting myself. I learned to cope. I used the time to acclimate myself to just being.
It became a spiritual exercise, and one that would come in handy. Observing. Listening. To listen to my own heart. To trust myself with my own decisions. To finally become comfortable within my own skin.
I had finally found the silent Ying to my loquacious Yang.
And, in that silence, I finally found my voice.
I found that words are powerful. You don't forget the throb when someone's words cut through your soul like a knife, so I choose my words cautiously.
You don't forget the delight when someone makes mention of something you have done with no intention of recognition, so I make a point of reminding people of the good within them.
You don't forget the joy you feel when you hear "I love you" from those you hold dear, so I make sure I say those words as often as I can, while I can.
And in the meantime, I listen.
And the words will come, as they always do.