I am starting to believe that the lessons we learn and risks we take are much more invaluable the harder time we have with them. I have been praying specifically for silence lately. I decided not to give up anything or take up anything for Lent, but to use this time to create a habit of enjoying the silence more. They (whoever THEY may be) say that it takes 21 days to pick up a habit so I figure in 40, I will have this almost mastered. At least, I thought I would.
In the last few weeks, God has been calming my heart over the things that seem to plague me the most. Especially when it comes to waiting on my teaching application or my current state of financial affairs or ICBC or my car or boy or school wrapping up. I pride myself on not being an overly stressed or worrisome person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have concerns. When I had my kidney virus, my doctor told me that when you’re not an emotionally-charged-stressed person, your body chooses to react in other ways to make up for your emotions…through exhaustion or hair loss or blood pressure, etc. Lately it just started getting super noisy in my head and I just wanted to calm down and let God handle the rest.
It’s funny how it’s calmed down in my head, outwardly things have been chaotic. I broke Kyla’s espresso machine’s coffee pot, broke my favourite bowl from my mom, drove over a nail and popped my tire, the starter went in my car, I got four awkwardly-placed zits, toppled over coffee grinds and twenty minutes later, spilled my entire coffee all over my bed, carpet, and notebook. I also spilled a beer at our Mexican dinner party the other night all over myself so I was drenched from my middle down to my knee, dropped every other item or missed my mouth when I tried to eat off my plate…not even with chopsticks… when I went out for Chinese the other night, and finally, had both of my legs seize and spasm beyond painful repair when I was at the lagoon last Thursday night, sitting in the same place for three hours (try looking like a classy, elegant woman when all you want to do is scream and cry and yell… it all comes out in a garbled screech-crying-laughter). All in a matter of a few short weeks. (This is only ironic because I am not exactly a clumsy person or someone who likes to be out of control).
But through this couple week silence-excursion, I’ve learned that people constantly surprise you; that the most backwards way of handling things is to reserve the best for the people we’re trying to make an impression on, when I think we need to reserve our best for the people we love the most. I’ve also learned that, contrary to what procrastination may dictate, the state of my e-mail and facebook are proof-positive that I do not need to be on the computer very often, not that many people e-mail or ‘fb’ me all day long so there’s no need to be on it that much. As I make moments of silence, that’s when God creeps in and reminds me to trust him and trust my instincts and heart, I’ve had four or five occasions recently that reminded me that trusting people and trusting my worth, albeit being hard, is the greatest service to myself I can give. I feel like I am constantly being reminded to believe the best in people and trust them at their word, but we’re from such a broken and fallen world, it’s hard to remember sometimes that there still are truly honest, integral, humble, real, beautiful, positive people out there and I need to immerse myself in that truth and own that belief. Finally, spontaneity is key. Key. I need that.
My favourite current ways to disrupt this silence are with music (Dave Matthews concert in WA this summer anyone?), playing basketball at the rivercourt or playing catch, the lagoon, cooking and dreaming of food (Jes and Marli, I truly am a Stam girl now… L made a comment on how often food is a topic!), phone calls and family love or visits from friends, new friends, learning about my heart, and simply being present in the lives of the overly-specially-wonderful family I live with.
This silence thing has disrupted and changed my routine. Usually before I go to bed I read or turn on the TV (which is set to turn off 20 mins later, since I know I will fall asleep). Now I just go to bed, and if something is on my heart or in my head, then I concentrate on that. It’s funny how now that I’ve been praying for calm and silence, how that’s infiltrating the other areas of my life. I have been affirmed recently by people saying “Kate, you’re so…” or “… is my favourite part about you, Kater!” and what’s funny is those things he/she affirmed in me have been ambitions and character traits that I’ve been actively trying to achieve in the last few years. But it’s been in the silence that I’ve really made certain things more important. Like hearing good things about myself, owning them, and not in vain or conceit, just hearing it is something I am not good at.
Do you ever find that the hardest things to hear are criticisms or insights from the people that matter to you the most? I say embrace it. Because as much as I’ve felt affirmed lately, I’ve also felt shaken and I don’t think it’s safe to ever be fully comfortable that there’s no room for improvement. The key to understanding that some things, when said in love and respect, are the greatest lessons to learn. But neither can you expect to take wisdom from people who haven’t earned your respect and vice versa. I think it is a privilege to share my heart with someone and have it heard, but I also understand that sometimes, people will not be as receptive as you may want, and that’s okay.
I guess what I am finding with silence in my heart and head is that there is so much more room now to pay attention to those and things around me that deserve it. In those moments of the day, however short they may be, that I devote to just sitting down to wait or listen, I am able to edit out of my head and heart the things that truly don’t matter or make sense or I don’t want in there. It’s kind of like a character-building heart-humbling exercise. And having God speak into those moments is just an added bonus, I know he’s doing something with me, he can just be pretty evasive when I ask specifically what that is.
Oh well. I like this season… actually, I love this current season of my life. If anything, calm and quiet is helping me deal with the relative Kater-life-chaos with a bit more grace and honesty than before, except when my legs were not moving — I didn’t think I handled that in the most progressive-Kate fashion. I guess I can’t always be a hero. I wish we got that on video so I could share it with you.
Take some time to enjoy the silence. It’s not as quiet as you may think.