My life is noisy.
Inside my own head is noisy. With four kids and one husband and two dogs, my house is noisy. A brief note to my neighbors: Yes, sorry. I have a barker. Django is a barker. I feel it’s important to note however that I do call him in when he barks, and that he is most definitely NOT the dog that is allowed to bark for hours in the middle of the night. That’s the house behind us, and I am just as highly frustrated by it as you are.
Even when people are happily doing their own thing, there’s one person talking to a friend on Skype. Another talking to himself. Another watching TV. Another playing a video game. There’s the click click click of computer keys. There’s singing. There’s music. There’s laughing. There’s general merriment.
There are people across the street whose car alarm is constantly going off.
And have I mentioned we have a barker?
This past month has been insanely busy for us with these final conference preparations, and the 12 year old’s football starting, and the 8 year old’s theater starting, and dentist appointments, and car appointments, and my own personal… stuff… and all of the comings and goings from all of the above.
I have not been sleeping much – because that’s how my body tends to deal with stress – and when you’re not sleeping, noises are so very magnified. You know how people talk about the horrifying sound of nails on a chalkboard? When I’m not sleeping, everything sounds like nails on a chalkboard. Except, if I’m being honest, I can think of much more objectionable sounds than nails on a chalkboard. Like someone flossing their teeth. Or eating a banana.
This is my life right now. A million people flossing all their teeth and eating all the bananas. Right in front of me.
And please don’t misunderstand. A lot of the above are happy noises, and I’m grateful for them. It’s just… I’m tired. And when I’m tired, the noises make me more tired.
But right now, in this very moment, it is quiet. I am alone in the living room. Three of the four kids are sleeping, and the other is quietly watching something with headphones on his computer. The dogs are sleeping. There is no barking. No car alarms. No TVs. No music. There’s just… silence. Silence so acute that I can hear my own breathing.
And I’m sitting here and I’m thinking, Has it really been this long since I’ve had a silent moment? or Have I just been too busy and stressed out to take notice of them? My heart tells me that it’s the latter, and I struggle against the feeling that I’ve somehow failed, again.
But I know I didn’t fail. I’m just learning. And for whatever reason, this lesson of being still in the moment is one I need to learn over and over. And over and over and over until I really get it.
My brain wants to go to the next thing, to get ready to deal with the next noise. The dog will start barking. My phone will chirp at me. UPS will show up at the door. One of the kids will need me. I fight with myself to stop anticipating everything that will come next, and instead appreciate the here and now… as I simultaneously realize that fighting is exactly the wrong thing to do, and that it’s a matter of leaning in, and surrendering, and allowing myself if even for a moment to just BE.
Right now, it’s quiet.
And I will breathe.