Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The sound of silence

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence." ~ from The Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

This poem has hung in my mother's sewing room my entire life, although since my dad died and she got the house repainted, there's really no way to know where it is has been relocated. Regardless, during my years at home, it hung there, and I saw it, maybe a million times, and still take its words to heart.

I heard yesterday that women spend something like three years of their lives shopping. As a working mom, I'm not surprised by that at all. My stolen minutes of shopping time - be they at the grocery store or the mall - are often my only quiet times of the day. I work in an office surrounded by people who make noise, a lot of it. I leave my office and drive five minutes away, where I pick up LittleG, who makes noise, and a lot of it. Once I get her to bed, MrG and I have our grown up discussions, or time in front of the TV, neither of which is quiet time. So I spend my days surrounded by noise.

When times get tough, as they often do, I will slip away to pick up an item or two at the grocery or drug store. I often find myself uncharacteristically dawdling during these trips. After all, a trip to the store for band-aids should be just that - in, out, done. But I tend to wander the aisles, looking at the pretty shiny things. During this time, my mind is my own, with no intrusions from coworkers, clients,or needy family members. In these days of horrible customer service, I rarely have to worry that my quiet time will be intruded upon my a store employee. But that's another blog.

I had some time alone after work yesterday. LittleG had soccer practice, and I somehow convinced her father to take her so I wouldn't have to go. They left the house, and I started dinner and pulled out a work project that still needed some attention. I worked quietly by myself until they got home about an hour and a half later, bringing with them a a swirling dervish of noise and mayhem.

I didn't realize until they came in just how quiet it had been. I had not turned on the TV, radio, or iPod. I was in the kitchen, where the only sounds came from the flipping of my paperwork, and the bubbling of food on the stove. Even the dogs were quiet.

My dad used to ask for "peace and quiet" for his birthday every year, and now I understand why. As a textbook extrovert, I tend to thrive on the noises from people around me - laughter, chatter, quiet conversation. But as a mom who is stretched pretty thin, silence has become therapy for me.

I haven't shared this news with many people yet, and now is as good a time as any, I guess. I've made the decision to walk the Komen 3-day walk in Dallas this November.

Beyond the obvious benefits that come from participating in a walk like this - comraderie, friendship, exercise - I will be giving myself the gift of silence. I will have to train for hours and hours, and most of that time, I will be alone. Even when I'm walking the days of the event and I'm surrounded by others, I have to think that some of my time will be spent in silence. The sheer determination that it will take to push my body to walk 60 miles in 3 days will dictate quiet time.

So I will push forward during this next seven months, remembering the peace there is in silence.


P.S.   My sweet aunt pointed out I should make it easy for my dear readers to donate to the cause. If you're so inclined, click the widget on the right of your screen to make a donation online!


Darla-Jean Weatherford said...

Isn't this the deal Leonard Pitts told me about in his column where I can go online and make a pledge with your name on it? Can you tell me how to do that--'cause I'm going to think of you as walking for me and your mom and Aunt Carol and Aunt Suzie; we're all going to be cheering for you!

Hugs, dj

StephanieG said...

Why, yes you may! Thanks for asking. Copy and paste the link below to access my personal page.

I have to raise a truckload of money, and I'm not proud, so please share this link with anyone you think would want to donate to the cause!



Shelly said...

Is this your way of telling me I cant talk non-stop for 3-days and 60 miles?

StephanieG said...

Sweet, sweet, Shelly. I am absolutely COUNTING on you talking nonstop for 3 days and 60 miles!! Counting down the days, and raisin' up the money, sister. You better get on the stick!