Sometimes it feels like there are too many words in my life. Perhaps this is an odd thing to say, for someone beginning to consider themselves a writer, but, it’s not the written ones I’m bemoaning.
Those are more of a comforting friend, invited in. It’s the incessant noise of the spoken ones, uttered by others and by the internal monologues in my head, that can crowd in and steal the silence, disturb hard-won peace.
I wouldn’t want to live in a world of complete silence and don’t want to convey ingratitude towards the word-makers in my world.
Anyone, however, with any experience of combining marriage, job, small children and hobbies or similar will know how rare moments of glorious, undisturbed silence can seem.
Small-child-owners, past and present will undoubtedly remember their unrivalled skill in relaying lengthy stories, containing no apparent point.
Active listening ceases after the first few nods and internal words take over: shopping lists, unmade phone calls or texts you haven’t sent yet, drown out the voice from the back of the car, as you say ‘oh,’ and ‘really,’ long after you’ve lost the thread.
I’ve been jolted back into these conversations before, by my husband pointing out that I’ve agreed to something I might have vetoed if I’d been giving the monologue my full attention!
My children have the impressive ability to talk to me simultaneously, on walks home from school and I have to judge who started first, to decide on the order of news-delivery.
The opening words of the chosen story-teller are usually drowned out by the protestations of he-who-has-to-wait-his-turn.
When they fall silent (almost exclusively when sleeping), the internal words clamour - scheduling, planning, strategizing - leaving me longing for a ‘mute’ button.
It can be a good thing - my best writing ideas often start ricocheting round my mind in the shower.
But sometimes the words keep pounding, clamouring and yelling, when what I need is God and silence, peace and rest.
It’s a discipline and something we can practise being better at, to stop, breathe, be, actively halt the march of the words.
And it’s in those moments that we might, just maybe, hear some better words from the only One who can speak life and peace into the clamorous din.