Some days I walk out of my house ready to conquer the world, and other days I don’t even wash my hair. The days of no-washing aren’t obvious because my hair is thick, but my husband knows because I come out of the bathroom announcing, “I took a shower, but I didn’t wash my hair.”
My husband once told me that one of the first stages of severe mental illness is signified by the cessation of daily showers. That’s why I let him know that I’m not down for the count, but life does have me in a position that could result in a temporary take down.
On my days of dirty hair, I don’t always listen for God, and I don’t look for how I can help somebody. I mostly look for junk food and reasons to go home and watch the television show “Snapped.” All day.
I’ve always had this tendency to either shine brightly or scowl darkly. There’s not much in between for me. What I’m discovering, as I age, is that maybe that’s okay. Maybe we need those “Snapped” days to rebuild our energy. If I remember correctly, Jesus took off on a sailboat every now and then to get away from the crowds. Mythology recounts times when Greek gods isolated themselves to find wisdom. Jonah sat in the belly of the big fish.
Perhaps the difference is that they sat in silence, waiting for a message. I’m pretty sure that the messages I receive from “Snapped” are not going to make me a better person.
I think we are too loud . . .
And that’s saying a lot. I’m a very loud person, from a fairly loud family. I’m the extrovert who can scatter a room of introverts like a lion walking through a flock of sheep. As I age, however, I’m seeing the value of silence.
Remember sitting on the porch whittling? Well, neither do I, but it always looked peaceful.
Recently, I read the book “Unbroken,” about Louie Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who went to war. Several chapters of the book recount the crash of his aircraft and the subsequent 47 days he spent lost on the ocean. On his 39th day, starving and blistered, it reads: Louie found that the raft offered an unlikely intellectual refuge. He had never recognized how noisy the civilized world was. Here, in almost total silence . . .He could stay with a thought for hours, turning it about.
The author, Lauren Hillenbrand, writes beautifully about the transcendence he experienced in this natural, beautiful, sometimes frightening, silence.
I know this isn’t a new concept, but . . .
I think I’m going to try to spend some time in silence each day, so that I can hear my thoughts, visit with them, and turn them around a little.
I know there will still be days when I want to crawl back into bed.
And, maybe, even if metaphorically, I should crawl back into my place of dark silence.
Perhaps closing my door and focusing inward is exactly what I should do. The silence could even teach me more than the stories on “Snapped.”