If you hardly ever say anything, do people listen more closely when you do?
I used to say a lot here.
My dad is one of those people that doesn’t talk that much. He is also the kind of person that, because he waits to speak, ya best listen when he does. It’s going to be worth listening to, truly. (No pressure, dad.)
My friend Jean had a stroke several years ago. It took a toll on her body and makes it so that her words come out slowly. Her brain will have it all lined up nice, words flowing to sentences and then paragraphs and pages, but it comes out like the dripping of a slow-leak faucet, or sometimes simply like a person who has had a stroke. This can be terribly frustrating for her.
It is one of the things I adore about her.
Well…that’s…lame…she said recently. And that was it. After quite a rant from me. Well, that’s lame.
She will say something like that, after I have given her a five minute ramble about whatever ridiculously irrational thoughts and feelings I am having. I will shoot words at her all rapid-fire like, and she will listen intently and then…
or, GOOD. See? You are not a victim.
or, STOP. Just stop.
and that sums it up. She’s right. She isn’t going to waste her energy on wrong. No people-pleasing. No beating around the bush. No manipulating. No polite and carefully crafted rambles to caress my ego.
She was right, you know. That day. When I talked about how I went about dealing with something painful. How I was over-thinking myself into a tizzy. She was right. It was lame and I needed to just stop.
Brevity is good. Saying very little can be very good, too.
I know someone else who says, Show up, shut up and shine.
I like that. I want to do it more often.
In the last couple of years, with more silence here in this space, I have probably said more out loud than in the ten years before that. In meetings, with friends and loved ones, to my children. I have been more present. Sometimes painfully present. When I get those notices on Facebook to look back at memories from years past, I see links to this blog, from 2013, 2011…and sometimes I click over to see what I was talking about back then, right here.
I will think, Hm, that’s odd. I don’t know…where did I go?
Why did the writing stop?
Well, I could go on and on to explain that, and I mean, I really could go on and on to explain that. But we’ve just discussed how not doing that can be a better idea; how good it can be to say less, so I won’t.
I have not forgotten how to write, but I may have lost the ability to trust myself with words.
That could be lame.
I miss writing.
For today, besides all of that up there, I will tell you just this one small thing:
My two oldest, the boys, they were babies (BABIES!) when I started this blog. Now they are lanky long things, thin and electric, floppy-haired and good. They will soon be eleven and nine years old. They could not speak when I started writing here. Well, I suppose Miles was toddler talking. And now they read and write and have friends over and they are trying to figure out really big life questions and they play Minecraft.
With them, and with their spitfire suddenly almost five year old sister, I have changed just as much.
We are here living so many lives, I don’t even know what to say. In the midst of the movement from one life to another, I have lost clarity. You don’t really know how badly you need that until you don’t have it and then people remind you that you need it.