The gift of quiet

The music sways and I can see men and ladies dancing and tufted couches at the end of a long hall. Shiny wood floors and punch bowls and veiled secrets and passions tucked into the promise of dance cards. But it’s just music. Just a moment to myself in a coffee shop. Just coffee and a keyboard and a moment alone.

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Photo credit: Jolly Voyager / Design Sellout

It’s really a cliché these days: sitting alone in a coffee shop, staring at a computer with black-rimmed glasses and typing out thoughts on a computer, thinking our words mean much more than they do. The cynic in me thinks that it’s all a waste, that there are blogs and books out there that swell in popularity and then go to die deaths in secondhand shops. But the optimist in me wants to believe with all my being that words matter. Stories matter. What you say counts.

Because words tell us we’re not alone.

And as much as I need alone and I need quiet, I’m realizing it’s just so I can jump back into the fray. A moment to breathe, to remember who I am as I write and read and think, and then to get back at it. Before children, when I spent so much time alone with my thoughts and my computer and my classical music, I thought that being alone would save me. That if I didn’t have a requisite amount of time to think my deep thoughts and get those words just right, that I wouldn’t matter or make sense or couldn’t make a difference in the world. And I realize that all that alone time can really just make me make it all about me. I’d rise on the wings of my successes or plummet to the depths when what I wrote or said is ignored or is just plain bad.

I’m learning that quiet isn’t a right, even it is necessary for me so I don’t go all crazy-woman on my family.  It’s a gift. I still enjoy coffee, both the aesthetics of holding a warm cup in my hands and for the little caffeine boost. But I also need people; and I need the quiet to refresh and renew me to get back into the ring, to fight for my people, and to live a quietly ordinary life.

Because like all gifts, quiet has a cost. It means my husband (who also needs quiet) is the ringleader of our little circus so that I can have some down time. So I can let my mind go where the music takes me, let my fingers keep tapping out words that may or may not resonate with anyone, feel the warmth on my fingertips from a fresh cup of coffee, and just breathe. Because as I receive this little slice of alone time as a gift, I don’t need to feel guilty that I’m not at home. So I’ll simply receive a moment to pause, to reflect, to renew my dreams and passions, to let my mind wander, or even just to sit without chatter or the incessant barrage of needs. It’s like grace — there’s nothing I can do to earn it or to repay it or to make it about me. I’ll open my arms and say “thank you” and just receive this moment of quiet.

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This is the seventh post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post.

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7 Comments

  1. This post is beautiful. I think the real gift of writing is the ability to touch people you will never see. Its like once you put the words out there they live a life of their own.

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Melissa. I’m so glad you stopped by. And thanks for the kind compliment. I get really happy to hear my writing resonates with people.

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  2. Some people need/crave more quiet time than others but I think we all need it from time to time. I cherish my daily quiet time with God. It refreshes and nourishes my heart and soul. It’s a gift, indeed!

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