I suppose I’m a product of my generation.
A child of the 80’s, and a teenager of the 90’s, technology grew in me as it grew in its presence to the world. Computers didn’t enter classrooms until late elementary school, when good and obedient children earned a round or two of The Oregon Trail (fitting, I’d say, for a girl raised in the Beaver State). I didn’t learn how to type properly until my sophomore year of high school, but was grateful my fingers quickly acquiesced to the repetition and rigidity of the keyboard after all those years of piano lessons.
I got my first cell phone my senior year of college, an old Nokia I nicknamed Zach Morris. With sixty minutes a month on the plan, it was for emergencies and for looks more than anything else. Bordering on hubris, I found picking out – and giving out, let’s be honest – my own phone number simply hilarious: 253-272-CARA.
For a long time, e-mail was my only form of communication when it came to technology, because it was the only form of communication when it came to technology. Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Linked In – all forms of social media I regularly use now – were barely a twinkle in their creator’s eyes.
But then, social media came in like the tide, splashing over us, daring us to play Chicken with its waves.
Constantly connected, we’re never not available to our friends and acquaintances, past and current employers, strangers and followers. Information is available as long as I have a wi-fi connection, and guaranteed two-day delivery beckons me click “purchase” via the Amazon Prime app on my phone.
Technology is such a part of my life these days that I can’t remember a life without the comforts of All This Noise and All These Distractions.
If I squint my eyes really, really hard I might recall checking the answering machine on the line I shared with four other members of my family – you know, the one we’d be away from all day long, wondering and waiting to see if anyone had called for us. Just like faint memories of classroom movies shown on the old film projector, I might remember a world in which we cracked open the Encyclopedia Brittanica, instead of opening a new browser screen.
And while I’m all for the advancement of technology, I’m against the fact that it tells me I can’t live in a world of quiet.
I’m against the fact that technology urges me into a life of more, of endless consumption and constant reels that tell me what I think I need, right here, right now.
I’m against the fact that it quickens my insides and makes me forget that breathing slowly and living slowly and entering into the moment slowly truly matters.
So, today, tonight, this week – I want quiet back. I want to not fear quiet, but I want to embrace quiet.
Even if it’s scary.
Even if too much quiet feels deafening to me.
Even if I feel disconnected.
Even if it seems to go against the beaten path, straying away from social norms of who I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to do as someone who calls herself Writer.
Because I don’t know about you, but I want to hear Life. I want to hear and see and find Beauty in the most unlikely of places: when I’m sitting in the backyard with my babies, and when we’re walking down the hill to the park on the corner of Lakeshore and MacArthur. When it’s nap time and feeding time, when we’re running errands and when the witching hour hits.
Because when the screaming starts – which it will – and the tantrums commence – which they will – I want to breathe deeply, in and out, in and out, and let ancient words of truth still me:
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me…
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on…
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy…
Over and over again I’ll say those words, with eyes wide open and ears fully attuned. And maybe, just maybe, as I inhale and exhale a prayer of lung’s air, a New Peace will find me.
Or so I hope.
So, what is QUIET to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts – and otherwise, I invite you to check out the #wholemama movement this summer, including this week’s theme of quiet. We’d love to have you join us!