Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Problem with Quiet

I've talked lately about how much of a blessing this unexpected time of quiet and rest has been.  I've talked about rediscovering introverted parts of myself, and understanding in new ways that alone time, or time with a few dear friends is what feeds my soul.

But this week I was reminded of the downside of all that quiet.  Or at least the downside if you're an introvert with tendencies to analyze, over think, avoid, and or generally inclined to ascribe to the position that "the unexamined life is not worth living."

The problem with quiet is that eventually the preceding exhaustion subsides.  Eventually the novelty wears off.  And then?  Then you are left with your thoughts.

(Can I just say that the time right before the holidays, when everyone is busy and happy and joyous, maybe even raucous, is not a great time to be alone with highly introspective, slightly less than happy and joyous thoughts?)

It took about a week for me to realize that the novelty of the quiet was wearing off, and my mind and heart were taking the opportunity to remind me that there are still unsettled things within them.  That there are wrestles that are more easily sidestepped when life is full, busy, and loud.  About a week of increasingly disturbing dreams marring my sleep, forcing certain wrestles to the surface of my consciousness for me to recognize the phenomenon occurring within me.

It's not a phenomenon that, for all my experience with it, I've quite figured out how to handle.  It's made more challenging by the fact that some of the things stirring relate to conflicts with those who are quite intimately connected to me - the sorts of people that the holidays demand I spend time with.

I am going to bed at night praying with just a hint of desperation for Jesus to be present deeply in my thoughts as I sleep.  That nothing not of him would penetrate my dreams.  That I would be held and protected.  (And I share those dreams that remain when morning comes with a few select and trusted friends, knowing that they too will pray as I negotiate the challenges of my mind and heart that are surfacing in my dreams.

And so I pause and acknowledge that that which feeds me also holds challenges.  That this too is something to balance.   That just like food, perhaps too much silence is not quite healthy either, and that there is still healing and learning to be done.


terri said...

oh yes, i know all about this phenomenon. it's the secret curse of introversion. hope your dreams become quiet and lovely and that you only take on one small corner of these issues at a time. and i hope christmas and the proximity of certain people is more joyful than you could ever expect.

Lisa said...

thanks Terri... I wrote this earlier in the week, and the dreams have quieted, at least a little, leaving some things that must be paid attention to in their wake, and some that for now at least can slip quietly back to the subconscious realms.

as for Christmas, I am rather determined to choose joy in it, even ruthlessly if I have to...

praying that you will have quiet, blessings and great joy in this season as well!