My husband likes to drive without the radio on. I don’t know how he does it. Even when I know I’ll only be in the driver’s seat for a moment, I’ll still locate a good song on the radio before I pull out of the driveway. Complete silence is a lot for my overactive imagination to handle. Before I know it, I’ll have panned through several scenarios in my head as though they’ve actually happened, and then I’ll start mentally rewriting the trajectory of my life to see how I’d adjust to those nonsensical notions. If my life were a movie, the entire thing would be underscored with background music. Vocalized by a narrator. At least feature someone humming the Jeopardy theme song.
Too much noise, though… Sometimes my family plays this game with our Yorkie where he chases the kids through the house, and the constant high-pitched yapping makes me feel like my brain’s about to explode. Two or three minutes of that and I’m looking for a hiding place. A safe room. By the time I yell for them to stop, I’m sure the neighbors are wondering exactly what crime is taking place in the Coryell house.
2018 was going to be a year of hope for me. Finding hope, embracing hope, choosing hope. It was meant to be a time to reorganize and prioritize, but it’s been wrought with distractions. Too many voices coming from too many directions. Instead of wrapping both arms around hope and holding tight, I’ve spent my year clinging to it with one hand and swatting interference away with the other. Not a fun thing to do when you’re as uncoordinated as I am.
The world we live in today is chock full of noise: some of it enlightening, some of it entertaining, but most of it useless. Nearly all of it distracting. Dealing with all the noise is a little like trying to have an important, earnest conversation in a football stadium during a touchdown run. Whispering to a neighbor during a rock concert. Someone waving their arms and yelling at the top of their lungs would only be adding one more discordant tone in the chaos. And it’s amazing how the smallest noise impacts everything. Just today, I left church feeling refreshed and eager for a new beginning. Only a few hours later, a flippant message by someone who meant absolutely no harm sucked the air out of my sails faster than a safety pin would deflate a balloon.
As this year rapidly comes to an end, I’ll admit that the noise intensified during the past several months until it left me feeling drained and weary. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to remove myself from its clutches like I’m unwinding a tangled strand of Christmas lights. For me, that’s meant a lot of unfollowing and deleting. Quietly stepping back and excusing myself from conversations. Ignoring some of the chatter – even the well-intentioned chatter – because listening to too many voices is detrimental. And in the midst of stepping back, I’ve taken a writing break to reevaluate…well…everything.
If you’ve noticed silence from me recently, this is why. If I’m quiet for a while longer, this is why too. It’s why I didn’t spend much time talking about my book release in October. It’s why I have pages and pages of background notes for my current works in progress, carefully cultivated over months and months of research. My goal for 2019 is to be purposeful in everything I do…what I write, where my time is spent, whose voice I hear, and even what I read. Life is too precious to spend it doing things that don’t matter.
Until the next time I have something worthwhile to say, I wish you a 2019 full of hope, purpose, and very little noise.