I love a good song or a great conversation, but I also appreciate silence.
I enjoy the energy of a group, but I often need time alone with my thoughts.
I am grateful for wonderful travel experiences and expanding my horizons, but I am always happy to return home to my own bed. And I appreciate the comfort of sipping that first cup of coffee in my pjs with dogs in my lap just a little bit more, the familiarity grounds me back in the joys of everyday life.
I’ve come to learn that in order to fully appreciate one, I must have the other. Henri Nouwen describes it best,
“Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure… The careful balance between silence and words…”
Ah, “The careful balance between silence and words…” I love this paradox, this sacred balance – it is in all things.
For the past eleven years, I was involved in many wonderful nonprofits and activities – they were my way of being, they allowed me to have purpose and to be useful to causes as wide-ranging as mental health, food insecurity and the fine arts. But I’ve found a new rhythm here in my current life – one that is less busy with the social engagements and outside causes. It is more inwardly focused, and I make no apologies for that. This is the balance I need right now as adjustments are being made and plans are still solidifying on this new experience in this new place. This inward work is valuable and restorative, a time to reflect. This quiet is a balance from the busy life I lived for so many years.
As odd as it may sound, it reminds me of the moon. I’ve always been fascinated by the moon and its various phases. Although the new moon is not visible, we know it is still there. Over the course of a month, it begins to appear, first as a small sliver, beautiful as it reveals more of itself in all its various iterations. There is a grandeur in the full moon – filling the night sky with light. It wouldn’t be appreciated as much if it was always full, it’s the ebb and flow of this cycle that creates its power and beauty.
In this same way, life is a continuum, the rise and fall – the high energy moments and the quieter, calmer times. The key is to be aware and present. Life is a precarious balance, full of paradox. Take the time to listen. There is beauty and purpose in the sacred balance of it all.