Early this morning I sat on the sofa sipping my coffee with exactly two small sugars and (lots of) half & half (what can I say, I like a little coffee with my cream). It was very quiet and I listened as a train whistle blew about a mile down the road from the house. There is something so comforting to me about hearing that train so far away yet so close that I am reminded of its presence when it slips by. Sometimes I am sure that I miss it completely because hearing the train has become the norm for my ears which are usually engulfed in the noises of life. But it is especially prominent in the wee hours of the morning when everything is still and quiet and most of the community still sleeps. Since the sun was not yet up, I flipped on all the Christmas lights and sat in the gentle glow of the ornaments. I've never quite understood why the glimmer of Christmas lights brings such a calm for me, but I suppose it's because, just like soft light brings down the glare of harsh lighting, the combination of soft lighting in the absence of harsh "life distracters" makes the troubles of the day seem easier and more manageable. It reminds me of the peace and goodwill that is on everybody's Christmas wish list and the hope that we all want the Christmas season to bring. It's like a tiny whisper that everything, no matter how hard life gets, will be okay. It reminds me how the soft light of truth can overcome even the darkest hours.
If you are one of those persons who always has to have some type of noise, let me just say this: I DO NOT understand you! Now, I say that not to be critical of you, but very simply because I do not understand it. Quietness to me is a cleanser, a purifier and clarifier of all the noise that constantly surrounds us every day. We have a million different noises that enter our ears to divert us from the stillness of our own hearts and minds. We have the drone of the television, the conversation of those around us (whether we want to hear it or not!), the sounds of business and traffic and discord and confrontation. But to find a place of solitude brings us to a place of renewal, of recharging, of resetting the clock so that we can face another day which will always, without a doubt, bring much noise into our lives. I've spoken a lot lately about resetting the clock, perhaps because I've had to hit the reset button so much recently! My life has been especially challenging since my mother became ill and passed away in 2014 and the days have followed with so many tests for me. Just when I think I've rounded a corner with the care of my fragile father, another demand springs up and I am forced to reevaluate and find, once again, the need to refocus. Years ago as a young adult I honestly thought there'd come a day when I would arrive. Arrive where you ask? At a place where problems would be a thing of the past, where I would no longer have cares and unwanted challenges and days where it seemed I was hitting that reset button time and time again. Boy was I naive! As I've matured in my adulthood I've learned that no one ever gets to that place. As long as we have breath in our lungs we will be challenged with the hard issues of life and faced with solving them or at the very least learning to live with them in peace. But I've also learned that faith and family and friends help to make life bearable and, in the good times, so much richer.
You may be thinking that the desire for quietness is the product of old age. And while I agree that noise does tend to make older people more nervous and that some young people seem to thrive on noise and the louder the better, I have always been one to enjoy quietness. Even as a young mom, some of my best moments were in the wee hours of the morning before everyone was awake or late at night when everyone was already asleep. It was time to focus on the events of the day and to reflect on things of the past, good and bad. And as much as we hate to deal with the bad, the only way to truly rid ourselves of the negative is to face it head-on and sometimes we can only do that when our hearts and minds are quiet. I have never been afraid of being alone with my discontented mind; in fact, it is a place where I go often and never regret the resolve it brings.
I have no idea what is in your heart and mind and soul today. I feel pretty darn sure that if you are reading this, you are living and breathing and your life is no more perfect than mine. You may be dealing with family issues or financial issues or social issues or simply the craziness of keeping your head above water in everyday life. But whatever it is, may I suggest you surround it with a pocket of your day that is absent of noise and distractions of any kind? I am about as far from being a life counselor as the north is from the south, but I do know this without a doubt: quietness can be a great sedative for a restless heart and mind. I would challenge you to give it a try if you're one of those who has been leery of getting alone with yourself. It won't alleviate your problems or the frustrations that life has thrown your way, but it will help you to reset the clock.
And that's something I know quite a lot about.
Posted by CC
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