I watched the world spin on without my involvement, heard my children playing, unable to join in on the laughter or the fun. Truthfully, it bummed me out. I began feeling a loneliness folding in on me, a dark night without stars.
When I finally got over my neurotic fear of being left out of life, realizing this was not a permanent condition, I sat back and started to notice a few things.
1) If you speak less often, people are more apt to pay attention when you finally do.
Understanding what an effort it was for me to talk, my family sat up and paid attention when I did feel the necessity to do so. This is not the usual response, I assure you. I felt like, instead of ignoring my well chosen scant words, they actually actively listened. Maybe this is what the Bible means when it says "Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent." Suddenly, Mommy's words had weight, by golly!
2) A lot of what I usually want to say can go unsaid.
So, because I have a lot of words in my arsenal, coupled with a lot of opinions about, well, pretty much everything, I tend to talk. A lot. I mean, truly. I process things verbally. Heck, even my love languages is WORDS of affirmation. It really never stops.
Suddenly, however, I was forced to shut up already. And I discovered that about 70 to 75 percent of the words I say each day aren't necessary. When I lost the ability to say them, the world as I knew it didn't stop. My opinions did not make or break the global economy or the outcome of Dancing with the Stars (partly because I refuse to pay money to dial a number by which to give my opinion). I started to wonder if I was over using the gift of gab, or, at least, misusing it.
3) Shy people have got to be lonely.
This is not a shot at shy people. I married one. And I think he's pretty awesome. But, when I was unable to engage people in conversation, I felt, like I said before, as if everyone was a hundred feet away, just out of reach but out of reach nonetheless.
If it weren't for facebook and texting, I would have gone stark raving mad at the lack of some semblance of verbal interaction. Because of this experience, I am forming a new charity: the shyness campaign. Just kidding. But, I have sometimes overlooked people who seemed shy because, honestly, they made me nervous, what with their quietness and stuff. I've decided I should be a little more considerate of those without my loud personality. I mean, it's lonely on the other side people. Trust me.
4) God likes us in the quiet places.
I'm a very busy person. All the time. Usually, I'm just a blur, flitting from one task or thing or commitment to the next. I get bored sitting still, being quiet. But, when you are sick and silent, God is glad. I don't mean he wants us unhappy or in pain, but he does want us to "Be still and know I am God." It's very hard to do that when your schedule has you hopping.
When we in our bustling society finally sit down with nothing to do, God uses that opportunity to remind us that we really should do this more often. We saw some amazing sunsets together, God and I, this weekend. We listened to the birds and my children's laughter. We reflected on trials and blessings through those hardships. He spoke to me through his music in my ears and His words in His Book. These are things that, while I attempt to tap into regularly, I'm usually still so distracted with the noise in my head, the things I need to say, He can hardly get an word in edgewise.
I'm still slowly recuperating. My voice has not yet returned, and even though, it's a bit of an inconvenience, I've realized it's not all together bad. In fact, when my voice does finally return, I might be giving it a vacation a lot more often.