Why Bother Finding Your Own Space?

Why Bother Finding Your Own Space?

From an early age, I looked for quiet spaces. Growing up in a household with six siblings was a challenge for my personality. I liked quiet more than noise, order instead of chaos, and I was more at ease in my own company than in the company of others. 

Finding My Elbowroom

The first space I remember finding for myself was behind the couch in our living room. I happened upon it quite by accident. One afternoon, I crawled behind the sofa to look for a marble that had rolled away from me. Though I did not find the marble, I found something better. Empty space. A quiet place. The sounds of family noise dimmed as I lay down on the floor between the wall and couch. Just like that, everybody and everything disappeared. I’d made a delightful discovery and whenever possible, I’d scootch behind that couch. With just my pile of picture books in my lap, I went away to my own world of quiet and order. It was blissful.

About the time I turned into an eight-year-old, we moved into a larger home. Too big to crawl behind the couch, I now searched for a different space for myself. This time, I found a rather roomy closet where Mom stored extra blankets and sheets. Whenever I felt the need to close out the world and its noise, I’d go inside the closet. I’d close the door and lie down on the cedar chest stored against the back wall. Then I’d sigh with relief and fall asleep.

When we moved again, it was to a smaller house in the country. Finding my own spot became more of a problem. There were no roomy linen closets in this house. One day, while tromping through the fields that surrounded our house, I investigated the abandoned, old barn. Inside, I climbed a wooden ladder attached to one of the walls and heaved myself into the loft. The space was big, empty and  quiet. It became mine. Sitting on the floor, back against barn boards, I’d listen to the wind blowing through the gaps. On warmer days, I’d open the wide doors on either end and lie in the sunshine. The barn loft afforded me solitude and space, all to myself. 

This habit of seclusion and withdrawing followed me into marriage and motherhood.  Thankfully, my husband understands. Wherever we’ve lived, there has always been a room where I can close the doors and be alone. In our present home, my husband remodeled the attic space just for me. On one end of the room I can sit comfortably in my rocking chair to read and meditate. On the other end I can sit at my desk and write while looking out the window at the view. It is blissful. 

Why bother creating your own space. I know it is worth it to find a place where one can be alone. I think when we do, our heart, soul, mind and body settle down. At least for a little while.

Why Bother To Be Quiet?

 

Why Bother To Be Quiet?

There once was a popular song that often played on the radio of my mom’s Volkswagen, the car I’d borrow and drive around the city streets as a teenager. One of the lines from that song still sticks in my  head, “silence is golden.” But those words did not take on any meaning for me until I married a man of few words.

I’d grown up in a household with a lot of noise and not much silence unless everyone was asleep or Mom was mad at you. When angered, Mom went into silent mode. You never knew who had been the one to cross her since she’d apply the silent treatment to the whole household. She’d ignore all of us for a good while and we’d tip toe cautiously round her until she was no longer angry. Then she’d resume acting like her regular self, as though she’d never been upset in the first place. Her  behavior always left us feeling wobbly about our relationship with her. We never knew what we’d done wrong, so it was hard to know what we needed to do right. 

On the other hand, the way my brothers’ handled their anger was a much more productive method. One would wrestle the other to the ground and then pound on him until they apologized for their wrong doing. The offender then swore to never do it again. After that, there were no hard feelings lingering in the air. Unlike the silent treatment method that could last for days and make one wonder what they’d done wrong, wrestling and pounding on someone got the offense out in the open and an apology was always delivered.  

Silence Does Not Equate Anger

But with my husband, silence did not equate anger, which at first threw me off. His silence only meant that he had a different way of sorting through his thoughts. His way was quieter, something I was not used to, something I’d not seen while growing up. 

What had attracted me to my husband in the first place was his calm, quiet demeanor. He kept his cool all the time, never forcing anyone to apologize when they’d wronged him. But that same quality that had attracted me to him also caused some turmoil in our relationship until I learned how to talk less and listen more. 

Early in our marriage when I’d ask him a question, his answer never came quick enough to satisfy me. If I wanted an argument to clear the air, he’d refuse to argue. If I gave him the silent treatment, his silence outlasted mine. In exasperation, it finally dawned on me that I was the one who needed to change. If I wanted to hear him, I had to be quiet. If I valued his perspective, I had to give him ample time to share it. I had to let him process in his way; alone and quietly before hearing any answers from him.  Now I know that silence is golden. It does not signal anger or danger. It’s just the signal of a man, my husband, who is in the process of thinking things through, quietly and alone.

Why bother to be quiet? It is worth it to be quiet so that the ones who are otherwise silent can be heard.