I love words. So much so that I seem to fill my mouth and head with them constantly. Over the last couple of months I've realized that I am a pretty good speaker, point-maker, debater, expressive elaborator, but not all that good of a listener. I like to think that I'm a good listener, I even look like a pretty good listener. I took both a business calculus class and world history class...I am well-versed in the art of looking engaged while really being preoccupied with something else. For your enjoyment I have provided a purely fictional scenario that may or may not be based on an actual conversation that took place in my home (insert innocent looking emoji here).
Offspring #1: "Mom, I need you to wash my jersey for the soccer game tomorrow."
Me: Crap! It's only 4 minutes until Grey's Anatomy. Maybe I can throw a load in the washing machine during the first commercial...nope that's when I'm loading the dishwasher. Second commercial then. "Okay just set it in the laundry room and I'll get to it in a bit."
Offspring #2: "Mom, did you know that it only takes 3 ingredients to make your own glitter slime? I think we could totally do that, don't you? I mean only 3 ingredients, that's amazing!"
Me: What?!? Make eye contact and smile. "Yep that's pretty cool, maybe after you save your allowance we can go to the store and buy the ingredients and we can make it together." Ha! That kid has a perpetual hole in her pocket, she will never save up the money. Take that glitter slime!
Offspring #2: "...and then we can make it."
Me: Oh man, I missed the beginning. Again, just make eye contact and smile--throw in a nod.
Offspring #2: "Really? You are saying yes? Thanks Mom you are the best!"
Me: WHAT did I just get myself into? Maybe if I disappear down to the laundry room really quick she will forget about whatever I just agreed to do. Yes, that is a great idea. 1, 2, 3, move! Bless it, since when am I out of breath going down a flight of stairs? I'm totally starting the 21-Day Fix tomorrow. Now, where's that jersey? Of course, not where it is supposed to be. I am forever digging out sports uniforms that smell like 4-day old unrefrigerated Mexican food mixed with a hint of wet dog. Disgusting! But supposedly one day I'm going to miss this...yeah right, am I really gonna miss this Trace Adkins? Somehow I think not. There it is, of course at the bottom of the pile in the closet. I am so underpaid.
Offspring #1: "What are you doing?"
Me: "What are you talking about? I'm washing your jersey. What? Do you think I'm doing it wrong or something? I mean you could be a little more grateful for the things I do around here. It's hard being a parent. One day you will realize that and then you are going to feel so bad for all the times you took me for granted."
Offspring #1: "No, I mean what are you doing washing my basketball jersey? I need my soccer jersey washed for tomorrow. It's not even basketball season."
I would like to say instances like the one above are few and far between, but the truth is that it happens far more than I would like to admit. So, out of necessity I've been in a season of being quiet. This "quietness" has encroached on many areas of my life including social media, conversations with friends and family, my prayer life, and even this blog. I can't tell you the number of times I have drafted a blog post over the last several weeks, only to feel unsettled about it and eventually leave it hanging somewhere out there in blog post purgatory. It just wasn't the right time. It's been hard for me to bite my tongue, to sit in awkward silence, to not provide an answer, to learn to be content and to not try to "fix" the situations around me with the perfect phrase.
The Bible states that "for everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." Specifically, it mentions "a time to be quiet and a time to speak." (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7). Although, this passage is one of my favorites I failed to notice the significant importance quietness can provide and rationalized that there are plenty of times that I am quiet already...like when I'm sleeping...or sick...or eating a really delicious, large meal.
Two significant takeaways from this season are #1) I am an over-sharer and #2) I enable other people by allowing them to stay in their comfort zones because I often answer the tough questions but don't ask them. Without this quiet season I would never have learned these life-impacting truths. Truths I hope to carry with me into whatever season of life I'm headed into next.
One of my favorite songs by United Pursuit includes the lyrics that state, "Though the music changes, and the songs we sing, we still lift our praises to our loving God and King. Though the seasons change, your love remains." I'm so incredibly grateful for this love. It always remains no matter if I'm too loud or too quiet, if I say too much or not enough. If I am angry or joyful, embarrassed or arrogant. God gives us love and grace to make it through all the seasons in which we find ourselves.