Here we are at the beginning of Lent again. How life can change in a year.
I'm not giving up silence this year. I'm giving up the guilt about how much solitude I need at this point in my life. I'm also giving up TV for Lent, which is kind of funny since we are such non-TV people around here. I'm not against all TV as entertainment--I'm against mindless drivel, trash, time waste, and addiction. I hadn't watched much TV for quite a while before I realized that I can watch what I want to at the time that's convenient for me (i.e., when I have to be in bed resting anyway) online. A couple of years of life with toddlers destroyed my attention span for full-length movies--a gift, I'll add, that was absolutely 100% completely worth that destruction! Last year, I started watching 3 shows regularly (One has been canceled and one's fate is yet to be determined). Then as I've been sick a lot the past few months, I realized that has gone up to about 8 or 9 shows that I pretty much keep up with. Less good. But my two abstinences are connected because I realize that while I have been taking more time alone (My current tolerance for time with people seems to be a period between 2 and 3 hours these days.), I feel so guilty about choosing to be alone rather than with people that I escape by focusing my attention on something far from me--like a good story on a TV show. Thus, I still haven't been getting the actual solitude that my heart was starving for. Sounds stupid now, but that's part of the point of Lent, right?--realizing that our pacifiers aren't giving us any nourishment.
One of the twenty-somethings living with us asked me the other day: "So are you the kind of person who says little things all along out of frustration and anger, or are you the kind of person who saves it all up for one big explosion?" Uhmm, no. Raised eyebrows. I'd never really explained this side of who I am before, so it was actually good to put it into words: I'm the kind of person who believes that words matter, that words have power. So I'm the kind of person who will use all my self-control to try not to let harmful words enter the world through my mouth. That's an aspect of silence I'm not giving up.