Oh the emails I've sent lately.
"But it's quiet," I keep saying. "And I'm so irritated that it's quiet."
I know, they say back. I know. Because they know it's not the quiet that does me in.
"And I turn on the fan, and the noisemaker and I leave on the closet light and it's still quiet."
I can feel their electronic head nod in support. Because they know it's not about the stillness or the silence or the mechanical hum that rises up from my home at ten p.m.
"And that's just not how I thought it would all be," I whisper back to them.
I can almost see their pursed lips in solidarity. I can almost hear their prayer.
There are nights that I don't want to go upstairs and I don't want to lay in my own bed and I don't want to try to fall asleep with the fan and the noisemaker and the closet light on. There are nights that I want to sleep on the couch because that dark upstairs seems like Everest. But I do it anyway. I climb the stairs one at a time with my head bowed in supplication ... because it's scary, and weird, and new, and not something I'd ever thought I'd have to feel.
And on that precipice? That's where the gut check always hits me. The "I know I'm doing the right thing" rings the loudest on that ledge. By the time I've hit the last step and walk the three more into my bedroom, I've got it all back under control. The nagging irritation has melted away as I turn on the fan, flip on the noisemaker, and let the closet light shine.
It's not the quiet I hate.
I was telling someone the other day that we all have issues and they all manifest themselves in different ways. Our Befores are our worst enemies for our Afters and sometimes, we forget to leave the Befores behind. As we breathe new breaths and as we tread carefully through new days, for some reason, we often are caught tugging, lugging, hauling, schlepping, and heaving our Befores along with us. It's hard to remember that once we learn the lesson, we can leave the mess behind.
That's hard, isn't it? Because inherently, we like to clean things up. Just today, I helped The General sweep up some Cheerios that he had thrown all over the kitchen. And sure enough, his fingers clutched three pieces at a time as he walked oh-so-carefully to the trash. And when he was done? He was just so proud of himself. Proud that he had cleaned up his own mess.
But sometimes, the best option is to not worry about our wake, and to instead walk away. Grace still intact. Eyes averted. Pride ... most of the time ... lost in the fray. But forward nonetheless. Sometimes it's just best to say no thank you, to put your hand up and say no more, and to move away without that backwards glance, or a check in the rearview for the smoking rubble - even if it's in our nature to put out fires.
We are a broken people. You. Me. My neighbors. My friends. All broken. Most of us still lost. Most of us carrying our Befores in tattered backpacks on beleaguered shoulders. Those Befores are manipulative, quietly invasive, vulnerability filled pools of reckonings waiting to happen. They create gaping holes of heartache and taint relationships - friendships, families, love - if you're not so careful. If you don't stand toe to toe with those Befores, they'll keep you right where they want you ... which is where you always were.
It's a hard fight every day, you know? A hard fight to find joy and to find solace in new, quiet spaces, and it's a dang hard fight to even think about the hope in opening up a heart again after hurt. Because it's easy to get lost. It's easy to feel small, and we are so, so good at making each other feel that way.
No. My issue isn't just the quiet at night. My issues are carefully folded neatly in a Befores Backpack ... that is finally, certainly being put away.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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