Can You Handle The Silence?
My alarm wakes me up from a deep slumber. I struggle to pull my eyes open and find my iPhone to shut the alarm off. It’s still dark outside and I struggle to keep my eyes open. It’s warm, comfortable and cozy in my bed. The soft hum of the box fan from the corner of the room sends a light breeze across my face. My wife, Alia, rests comfortably next to me and is not disturbed by movements.
I shift my body weight and stretch my achy, sleepy legs as I stare up at the celling and sigh. I search for an excuse to go back to sleep. My body protests as I slide out of bed allowing my feet to hit the cool carpet. I can’t feel my legs move, but I find myself in the closet fumbling for some clothes, struggling to wake up.
It takes me a moment to gather my senses and let the dogs out, then feed and water them. They scurry at my feet and have way too much energy then I do at the moment. I grab a cup of milk and a chocolate peanut butter protein bar and head down to my basement office. It’s damp and dark in my office. I turn on a desk lamp and plop down into the cool leather seat of my chair. I rub my eyes and shake my head, a weak attempt to wake myself up. I reach for my bible and read a few verses, sigh and pray.
Eventually, I turn to my computer and illuminate the screen. The screen comes to life with a picture of my beautiful wife smiling back at me. I smile at her picture and then open a familiar file, a word document I’ve struggled with the past seven years.
In 2007, I embarked on a journey to write a novel, a story I had swimming around in my head. I made a commitment to write the story, but I had no idea how difficult it would be, as I hammered away in spurts and lulls over the years. I’m not a recognized author, and have no experience publishing anything, let alone a full manuscript chalked full of characters, conflict and plot. However, I have a burning desire to finish the project so here I am, writing where I can, mostly early in the morning or late at night, in the margins of my life.
Silence is the killer of most dreams. It creeps up like a dark cloud and whispers doubt into my soul. I write a lot in silence, and in darkness, with only a single desk lamp illuminating my path. The world sleeps while I pound the keyboard for hours on end. Some days I feel like the keyboard sings back at me as the ideas flow out of my head, but most days, I only experience silence. Does anyone care? Do I care? I’m tired, it would be easy to go back upstairs and slide back into my warm bed and catch up on sleep that my body desires, but what happens to my dreams? Do they go to sleep as well?
The fact of life is there is always a “messy middle” a point when you are on your own in a project or a dream you are pursuing with hopes of bettering your life and for your family. It’s exciting in the beginning and it’s exhilarating in the end, but the middle can be miserable and if not managed, your dream will die and you will be left wandering “what if”?
I don’t want to live a life of “what if”, so I press on into the darkness and ignore the silence. God is with me and so I type away at my keyboard with purpose and focus and will let God do the rest.
Are you working in silence? We all do at some point. How you handle your silence is an important component to your path to success. Here is what I do to combat silence and strive to finish strong as I move towards my dreams.
- Recognize that silence exists. It’s there waiting for you to succumb to its power. Silence is loneliness and despair. It brings doubt, depression and confusion. Recognize that you have silence in your life. That area where you feel alone and that nobody is there to help you. But also recognize that it is a lie. The fact is, you have a support team. People that care, love, and support you and are waiting for you to move forward so they can cheer your success. The solution, keep moving and the silence will disappear, it has no choice. Silence cannot stop movement, so keep moving.
- Recognize that the silence does not define you. You begin to believe a lot of untrue things about yourself while toiling in silence. Your thoughts are loud in silence. Am I good enough? Is this project stupid? Am I wasting my time? Shrug it off and keep moving forward on your project. Your negative thoughts brought on by the silence in your world are always lies and tactics to slow your progress, because you are on the right path, so keep moving.
- Recognize that you matter to someone. No one is alone, ever, no matter the situation, with no exception. We all go through silence, but at the other end is someone waiting for you to emerge victorious. For some, it may be a spouse, a child, a sibling, a friend, a colleague, a pastor, a stranger, but for all of us, it’s God. Keep moving
You are no accident. Your desire and dreams are no accident either. They are not foolish, unattainable, and you are worthy and uniquely gifted to see them out. Don’t be afraid of the silence. Embrace it. I will see you on the other side and can’t wait to see what you create in the middle of your silence. Wake up and get out of bed, you future awaits you!