Silence Ain’t Always Golden
Strep throat sucks.
Have you ever taken a few glass bottles, put them in the blender, and then swallowed those shards of glass, every five minutes for three solid days?
No? Well, me neither. But, I sure know how it would feel if I did.
My precious middle child is a magnet for everything. If there is some illness out there to catch, Benjamin will catch it. And, I love all over that kid often because he’s my only cuddle-bug. Hence, the Shards of Glass Swallowing of 2012.
Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as a stomach bug. Nothing beats a stomach bug. Been there done that. But still, strep is So. Not. Cool.
I went to the doctor immediately to avoid another wicked inner ear infection like I had a couple months ago. They gagged me with a Q-tip to check for strep. Then, they proceeded to tell me it would take three days to “grow”. I’m fairly sure this nurse was using my gunk for her kid’s science fair project. Because I knew at this very moment, Benjamin was at the pediatrician’s office down the road and they get results in six minutes flat. Literally. I’m pretty friendly with our pediatrician and he bragged about his quick test once, so I counted down for him “Ok show off…3-2-1..Go!”, just for fun. Sure enough- six minutes. Done. Three days my foot.
Strep or no strep, I desperately needed my doc to give me some sort of high pressured numbing foam to spray in the back of my throat like they spray insulation on all those home improvement shows. Like, now. Chloreseptic was a joke at this point. Worthless, except in giving me cherry flavored breath. It was time to call in the big guns.
I got an antibiotic in the form of a pill – not a big gun.
The next day I felt like I’d have to die to get to feeling better. So, they shot me in the hiney with a new antibiotic and sent me to the ENT for further expertise, because yes, it really was that bad. Like, almost-emergency-tonsillectomy-kind-of-bad. Awesome. ‘Cause that’s what I need in my life is more medical drama than I already have.
It actually only hurt when I tried to breathe, swallow, talk, or move. So, as long as I avoided any of those things, I was golden. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to make it without breathing, swallowing, talking or moving for very long – but, it is fairly impossible.
That is when it began.
I never lack for words. Understatement of the millennium. In fact, I think God gave me a double-dose of words each day, as a gift to those around me. My husband isn’t so sure about that. I’m pretty sure I stole half of his daily words too. He has like twelve. He says to me, “Baby, it’s not like I’m shy. I just don’t feel the need to have to talk to everybody I see all the time.” Well I do. Hmm…was that an insult? Moving on,
This particular time wasn’t a chosen vow of silence to sit back and reflect, ponder, appreciate. It was forced upon me as cruel and unusual punishment. It was annoying. It was painful. It was inconvenient. And it came with a 101 fever.
I did however, learn a lot as a Mom this week.
First, you can still yell at your kids in a whisper. It actually sounds pretty movie-monster-scary. You should try it. 🙂
Second, whistling loudly should be a required course taught to all new mothers before they leave the hospital with their newborn. Snapping and clapping just don’t cut it. Plus, you look like an idiot.
Lastly, kids are hilarious. It literally took days for mine to realize that Mama couldn’t talk, not just that she wouldn’t talk. Of course then, two things happened; they thought because I couldn’t talk that I also couldn’t see, so they tried to get away with murder. Wrong. Even funnier was how they thought they had to whisper at me too. As if their talking loud would hurt my throat. This was hilarious, because my middle child, aka ‘the strep-giver’ doesn’t grasp how to whisper. His idea of whispering is quickly mouthing the words while making wild hand gestures.“Buddy, I can still hear you just fine. Speak! I have no clue what you’re trying to ‘whisper’ to me!” That kid’s gonna rock charades someday.
But most importantly, I realized silence is not always golden.
In fact, sometimes, I think silence is red. Like when the man you love all of a sudden gets down one knee, and in that instant you know your life will never be the same. Or the first time you hear the infant cry of your newborn baby. One part melody, one part velociraptor equals love at first sight. In a heartbeat, you realize that your heart is now traveling around on the outside of your body. Those moments take your very breath away. Red silence is precious. Red silence is priceless. Red silence is love.
Other times, though, silence is black. That was my reality this week.
When I was right out of college I taught Math and coached middle school volleyball. I absolutely loved it!! I adored one particular group of girls and we all became very close! But, this week I received a phone call from one of those precious girls, now a young woman, “Coach H, I don’t know how to say this. I have terrible news.” Then she unleashed the truth into my world that the one girl we all loved and admired on that team, committed suicide the day before.
She was sunshine. She was creativity. She was brilliance. She was joy. She was twenty-two years old.
That is black silence.
The kind of silence where you have no words, no breath, only unrelenting tears. Black silence at the realization that I now have to speak in the past tense when I talk about Jordan. Black silence as I watch her nineteen-year-old brother grip the hand of his seveneen-year-old sister as he gives a eulogy I’m sure he never thought he’d give. Depression sucked Jordan down into a deep, black hole that she was unable to escape from. Her brother begged us all to remember Jo for how she lived, not for how she died. That boy had to become a man that day, as he is now the oldest child, without his even wanting to be.
That silence is the deepest black I know.
No, friend, silence is by no means always golden.
During my week of silence, the truth I learned, and had to live out, is that silence is only golden when it is given to the One who created heavenly streets of gold.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Ahhh, rest. Sounds good, doesn’t it? That Greek word for rest is anapauo, meaning “to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength”
That silence is golden.
That silence is purposeful. Its purpose? so that you may recover. So that you may gather up all the strength you spent and reclaim it again. The rest of the verse goes on to describe the benefit we receive from resting in Him – “and you will find rest for your souls.”
This week of silence, friend…my soul desperately needed that kind of rest.
And you know what, it found it.
Every single time I took my silence to Him, He blessed it.
He renewed my strength, just like He said He would. (Isaiah 40:31)
He gave my heart peace, just like He said he would. (John 14:27)
He gave rest to my soul, just like He said He would. (Matthew 11:28)
If we are willing, God will take the very thing Satan intended for evil and He will use it for good. (Genesis 50:20) But, my precious friend, that is a big if.
Silence can be deceiving. It can seem quiet on the outside as you close your eyes to relax your soul…but it’s really raging on the inside. Grocery lists. Things to do. Can’t forget this. I’d better remember that. Noise. Noise. Noise.
I challenge you to true silence. Inside and out.
Seek Him. Give Him time of complete devotion and utter silence.
If you have to hide in your closet at 11pm to attain this – do it!
Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Silence is golden.
But, only by the reflection off the crown of the King of Kings.
Otherwise, friend, it’s just a lack of noise.
I love you, Jesus.
And, I love you, Jo.