There have been times in my life where things started to spin a little too fast. I have always tended to overload my plate and the inevitable result should be all of the plans and designs coming crashing down into a beautiful tapestry of flames and broken promises.
But it hasn’t.
But, oh my, has it ever come close. It’s walking a razor’s edge, and there are times I teeter and sway. There are times I slip and just barely catch myself before it’s too late. In those moments, while I’m staring down into the yawning void full of everyone who told me I couldn’t or shouldn’t, everything stops for the infinite space between heartbeats and there is an absolute silence in my brain. In that silence rest all my doubts and fears. All the thoughts I’m too afraid to share and far too weak to admit. It’s the same type of silence that you feel when the car starts to hydroplane on the highway. The world holds its breath for a moment while you watch horrible possibilities stretch into the distance. But, you breathe. You ever so carefully turn the wheel. And the heart beats.
When I was younger, that silence used to terrify me. I ran away from the thought of it. And when it did arrive, I tried anything and everything to keep the silence from thundering in my ears. Music, martial arts, girls, stories, loud bars, and exuberant people. Whatever happened to be closest. Whatever was easiest.
But there were plenty of nights where I found myself driving my car way too fast on back country roads at 2 AM. No music, no talking. Just me, the lights of the dash, and the ever increasing pitch of the engine as I pushed that 5th gear for all it was worth.
No matter how fast I went, that silence was right behind me. Reminding me of everything I stood to lose.
Now it’s different. The stakes are so much higher. The razor’s so much sharper and there is ever more that needs to be done. More people count on me, more responsibility, more expectations. Just more. Now the silence doesn’t just follow. It chases. It clamors. It roars. It explodes into my mind with a wild and reckless abandon that deafens.
It’s audacious and hungry.
But here’s the thing. After running from something, after dreading and dreaming and hoping against hope it would never come again, there comes to pass a certain sense of familiarity. A sense of knowledge, of ownership.
In this silence is everything I fear, but in it is also the very same stuff that drives me. I am determined to forever prove my fears wrong. I am motivated to never fall so low as to be deserving of the labels I create for myself on my darkest days.
The silence is always there, waiting for the moments when I am poorly prepared, tired, and distracted. But now I welcome it. I let it fill my mind and I use it. I channel it. I pull everything together. I keep the plates spinning.
Nothing in life is certain. Nothing is permanent. But how we handle our own personal silences; our own challenges, fears, insecurities, and mistakes, will dictate how we move through our world.
The silence will always be there. Longer than we are, but filling our lives with love, light, friendship and a few good books will go a long way. Living with passion and purpose will create the opportunity to welcome the silence. To hold your fears in your mind’s eye and accept them. And then move on.
On to the next chapter, the next adventure, the next day at work. Whatever it is.
Walk the line, slip a little. Feel the momentary terror and hear the silence rush in.