I think the good Lord may have just told me to "Shh!"
The December rains have ravaged our home phone line. On December 31st I finally got through to AT&T to complain about the severe static disrupting my conversations. They plan to be out to repair it by January 12. In the meantime, I was planning to endure the crackle and just talk louder.
But yesterday, our phone went out all together. Jeff forwarded our calls to my cell phone and I checked my minutes. I was already 88 over the monthly allotment for my mobile. I immediately betook myself to the Sprint store, where I purchased 200 extra minutes for the next three days. Then today, I bought 100 more just in case.
Three hours later, I lost my voice. The cold that I caught on Monday, has today, Thursday, won victory over my vocal cords.
Who is Amanda if she cannot talk? Well, at the moment, she's a frustrated woman in a baggy sweatshirt and slippers (which she wore both to Target and to pick up her daughter from school). She is also discovering -- in just three hours -- what a nit-picky sort of parent she is.
I can't tell you how many small instructions I've tried to give my three year old in the past hour. Put your shoes on. Take your shoes off. Don't eat the booger. Put down the stick. Get out of the middle of the street. Wash your hands. Come down off that wall. Don't eat that other cookie. Get in the car. Get out of the car. Don't push that cart into the man in front of us. Don't touch the toilet seat. Don't climb in there -- there might be spiders!
Problem is, smart little cookie that she is, she's ignoring my whispered commands. Recently she's started covering her ears when I try to correct or discipline her. Imagine her joy that now she really can't hear me!
The downside for both my girls is, though, that they both desire reflective listening from their mom. Neither of them will say anything past a pleading, "Moooommmm," until I've responded with something like, "Yes, Beloved," or possibly, "What now!" And then throughout their stories and requests, I must give many, "oh really's" and "mmm hmms" to show them that I'm still listening while I'm driving or doing the dishes. So at this moment, my mothering duties are significantly stunted.
Yet, there must be a lesson here in my forced silence. All joking aside, the verse in the Bible that has always been most challenging to me is in James: "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." Truly, I do like to listen. But I am much more predisposed to talk. In fact, even when I am listening, in my desire to show what a good listener I am, I'm likely to reflectively listen too enthusiastically, until I have switched roles with the other talker -- accidentally!
So if I can embrace this possibly divine shhing I've received, it will be good for me. I shall practice listening here at home, and show I am doing so with my body language rather than my voice. When the girls talk to me, I bet stopping what I'm doing and turning toward them would work even better than a "yes, Beloved," spoken over my shoulder from the kitchen sink. Oh wow. I just learned something already.
The irony does not escape me that the first thing I did after I lost my voice was blog about it. Dear God, I must communicate or lose my mind, apparently. Perhaps tomorrow, I shan't allow myself to type either. But one step at a time.