Silence is Golden

I’ve been quiet lately. I’ve been seeking simple, intimate groups, and have lacked tolerance for a lot of noise, both literally and figuratively. I begged for some sort of “break,” and then I got it in the form of a cold/flu combo that took me out for nearly a week. That was followed by the rearing up of a decade old back injury that was likely brought on by skiing which I did more this year than in the past seven years combined. Which was not a lot.

This has all lead to a lot of questioning, some of which has been productive, a lot of which has felt like gears grinding, clutch slipping, motion in reverse. It can make a person want to simultaneously scream and stifle. It makes a person repeat: this will pass – this will pass – this will pass. We have to trust it, because we know all things do.

Almost a month later and three trips to the (wonderful) eye doctor, we still have not found my new prescription. We’ve gotten close, but we’re not there yet. This may be the week. It’s been a struggle to have a blurry left eye, which is ironically my dominant eye. I asked her last week to do the dominant eye test again, and again it was the left eye, the one that is more near-sighted, the one that we struggle to find the proper prescription for. My perspective is still askew and I can’t understand—nor can the doctor explain—why my weak eye is the dominant one. It makes a girl ponder, usually too much, and it makes me wonder what plays tricks on us most. Is it the mind? The eyes? The heart?

Something heartbreaking has been going on at my neighbor’s house. Her son died and she moved into his house last year, putting her home on the market. She wanted to live in her deceased son’s home—and who could blame her—but her house didn’t sell and the two mortgages were killing her. Her house is in a neighborhood that doesn’t allow renters, so she was forced to move back over there and rent her son’s house. In the interim period there were a few real estate deals that fell through and a lag on getting a renter because it really would have been a disaster if she sold her house and rented her son’s house, rendering her homeless. So there was a delay, and she was neither here nor there. She joked with me that her peanut butter was at one house and her jelly at the other.

Finally she had to take a chance and just rent the son’s house. She found two guys to move in there who she thinks seem pretty terrific, and she only committed to a six-month lease. But then there was the process of getting everything out, and the emotion attached to taking every single thing out of the house. Her son’s skis were still hanging in the laundry room, and I’m guessing that some of the plants had been his—he was a gardener—and lord knows what else.

She has another son who was helping, and at least a dozen people showed up with cars and trucks to get everything moved. Her mascara was down to her cheeks while I chatted with her the afternoon before everyone came to help. I was torn between wanting to help, but worrying about my back and the fact that maybe it should be more of a family and close friend affair. I was paralyzed and did nothing.

This was a few days ago. Tonight I noticed her car there again—the renters move in tomorrow—and I imagined that she was in there grabbing the loose ends that are always the most annoying to move, and possibly even cleaning which always feels like the most exhausting and depressing thing to do after all of the moving is over.

I wanted to go over and knock on the door, make sure she didn’t need any help, and offer a hug if she needed one. I didn’t. I respected her privacy and I walked back into my own house and burst into tears.

I have a few things to work out right now and it feels a little daunting, but really, it’s not that bad. I’m going to give myself permission to be a little quiet right now. Who knows what I might discover.

“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

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