It’s a truth universally acknowledge among those who know me. When I am not comfortable in a situation or place I may be a little reserved, but in general, I LOVE to talk. It’s usually getting me to shut up that’s the issue. Even when I am home alone, as I am tonight, there are usually extensive conversations that I have with the dogs, or on the phone, or you know, just in general.
Tonight however, there is SILENCE.
I am in the midst of an asthma flare at the moment. Which basically means that my chest has been continually tight, making it difficult to breath. I get winded very easily. At the peak of the flare, I could get winded in the 20 foot walk from my bedroom to the kitchen. This is decidedly difficult for someone who is eternally working at Mach speed. When I try to push it, I start to cough because the air just can’t get through. Even simply resting the air trying to push through a small inflamed opening can trigger coughing, which triggers more inflammation and the cycle goes on. (If anyone is worried, I have been to the Dr. and am on all the appropriate medications!)
Between the inflammation and just straight up pain in my throat, it rather hurts to talk. I also sound like a mouse. So, the past few days, I have definitely been limiting the verbiage I say out loud, and I have been reminded of something.
When you can’t speak, you are forced to listen.
On my ride to work, I listened to the radio. Rather than sing along, I heard the words to each song. I listened to the complexity of the melodies and the different parts of the music. I actually paid attention to the weather report, and for once wasn’t shocked when white stuff fell from the sky.
In my pool session today, I could hear the lapping of the water to the side of the pool. I could hear the hum of the pool as the current turned on. I do talk a lot with my patients, but today I mostly listened, offering fewer of my own stories. Taking some time to show pictures of my puppies, and allowing the pictures to speak for me.
Tonight, in a rare occurrence I am home alone. I hear the tick, tick, tick of the clock. I hear my dogs, moving from room to room going in and out. Talking to me in their own little language of barks and sighs. I hear them lapping up water from their bowl, then the click clack of the dog door as they go out to pee. I hear the computer’s mechanical hum, and the reptile tanks turn on and off. I hear the sounds of the furnace firing, and the water travelling down the pipes to heat the house.
Sometimes, silence can be deafening, crushing and smothering. Today it is cheerful. A reminder of all the good that surrounds me and I am at peace.