The person who seeks all their applause from outside has their happiness in another's keeping."
---Claudius Claudianus, Egyptian Latin Poet
Writing is a solitary occupation.
On my writing days, many times I'll go for hours at a time without any real verbal communication. From the time I sit down at my desk with a steaming mug of coffee around 8:00 a.m. until I finally tie up loose ends around 3 or so, I am alone.
Although I talk - basically all day.
Or maybe I should say I listen.
I listen to Ella and to Luke...to Emma, Jackson...to Reggie...And - right now - to Faith and Marshall.
My characters constantly whisper in my ear, their animated conversations reverberating through the hallways of my mind, playing on the front porch of my conscience. They smile, they cry,they shout, and call for me, always urging me to stay around and hear what they have to say.
Is it any wonder then that on some evenings my family glances at me in curiosity, wondering if I'm okay. "Why are you so quiet tonight?"
I'm a talker by nature, a full-fledged communicator, and they know this. And yet, for these few moments I crave the silence, the peace of just...being.
I shrug. "I don't know...I guess I've used up all my words for today."
It's at that moment that I realize something. In the process of my work day I had spent six hours at the computer - hearing, feeling, seeing - a kaleidoscope of emotions, all played out on the big screen of my mind.
I've said it all.
I've heard it all.
I've felt it all.
It's time to recharge.
And how do I do this?
Some folks recharge their depleted proverbial batteries by losing themselves in a crowd of people. They draw a much needed jolt from the energy that is radiated off others. Though they may enter the room exhausted, this type of person will leave at the end of the night renewed, invigorated.
And then there's folks like me.
Put me in a quiet room, dim the lights, turn on some soft music, and close the door. It's only then that I begin to feel like myself again. The noise around me and inside me becomes muted, raw emotion loses its ragged edge, and calm begins to seep through the pores of my skin. Bit by bit, minute by minute, I'm infused with regenerated inspiration, renewed enthusiasm, and optimism that but a short while ago seemed all but impossible.
It's in those times, those moments of solitude, that I hear the voice of God the clearest. In my vulnerable state I'm at the very place where His gentle probing and prompting can make its way with ease through my soul.
Once again I feel the tingles of inspiration.
I see with clarity the plan He has for me.
And I listen with bated breath as He whispers encouragement to a soul that has grown parched and weary throughout the day.
It's as close to heaven as I've come, and I've learned to look forward to these times of solitude. For me, being alone is the farthest thing from lonliness. Instead, it's where I draw fresh strength, examine weaknesses, and learn the things about me that only He can teach.
Do you hear that...?
...the sound of silence calling to you?