As soon as we got home I gathered up Jonah's blankets and his favorite monkey. His smell became like a drug to me. I crawled into bed, and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon. Afternoon faded into night. All I could do was cry. No. Wail. My sobbing left no room for the silence I feared.
For the next week we were surrounded by friends and family. We talked, we cried, we listened, we remembered. As soon as one person would leave, a new person arrived. It was truly a blessing and made those first difficult days go by more quickly. But eventually everyone returned to their own lives. Back to work, to school, and to families. I soon found myself surrounded by the silence of my own home, the experience that terrified me. Yet when all my distraction disappeared I discovered the silence was so beautiful.
In the silence my mind wandered to memories and moments I had forgotten. I pondered my purpose. My thoughts found clarity. I read. My tears flowed. In the silence I tried to ask God real questions and seek answers.
Earlier in my life I think I would have filled the silence with music, television, or conversation. I was one of those college students who would say "I study better with the T.V. on." Definitely a lie I told myself. Silence seemed like the poster child of a uninteresting life. Things are different now. I want to guard my silent moments and keep them for myself. To me it is peace.
Each morning I wander into Jonah's room and open the blinds. I kneel in his room and ask God for strength. I ask for opportunities to feel Jonah near me. I ask for revelation. I stay in there in the silence until I feel ready for the day. I don't think I will receive these things, or feel his lightness upon me, if I busy myself in distraction and noise.
Of course I would trade these peaceful moments to hear Jonah's little voice, or his giggle. I would love to hear the repetitive music from his favorite videos. I wish I was dancing with him in our living room right now instead of typing this. I long to hear him say "Momma" one more time. But I know those things will not be part of my life today.
I know that some silence and stillness are required of me now. Not all the time. There is time for laughing and conversation and music and TV. We are not living like monks, although I'm beginning to understand them. I want to be ready for inspiration. I want to make room for silence in my day. I am not afraid of it anymore.
Jonah's first word.