Saturday, April 10, 2010

Quiet Time

I get laryngitis once or twice a year, typically as a secondary complication to a sinus infection or ten rounds with allergies.  Today is, apparently, that time.  This particular round came on hard and fast.  Two nights ago I was coughing.  Last night, I was raspy at best.  This morning, silence.  

I have enough vocal experience to know that rest is absolutely required when laryngitis strikes -- whispering actually does more damage to the vocal chords that talking.  And I'd really like to have my voice back tomorrow or Monday.  So I resigned myself to hand gestures and text messages, speaking only when absolutely necessary until the damage abates and I'm back to something like normal.

I began the day frustrated at the situation.  I couldn't call to the Monkey to get him ready for his piano lesson.  Reid called and I could barely croak out a few sentences to let him know I was thinking about him and his family (he's attending a funeral for an uncle in Florida before he heads this way tomorrow).  I wanted to ask him a million questions about the beach and the scenery and his family, but I could only listen and smile as he cheerfully worked to hold both ends of the conversation.  I stopped at a store to buy a belt on the way home from piano and had to use improvised sign language with two clerks and a passing customer to get my point across.  I'm supposed to drop by a friend's for a BBQ this afternoon, but given that no one can hear me -- and, worse, that I'd likely do more injury to myself by trying to talk -- that seems futile.  

For a woman who prides herself on successful communication, this is a terribly frustrating situation.

But, my college friend Erica reminded me that I'd just been looking for a reason to write...and maybe this silence would force my hand.  Shortly thereafter, I got a note from a former colleague of mine asking if we could talk over coffee Monday.  Then my high school friend Rebecca reminded me that illness is often the body's way of communicating something...the unspoken question of which is, simply, "what?"

I don't quite have an answer yet....except that I believe the point may very well be to listen.  Maybe this semi-annual malady is my body's way of shutting me up for a few days at a time and forcing me to notice things that I wouldn't otherwise:  the joy and wonder on my son's face as we went through a car wash this morning...the opportunity to meditate in my world rather than going to a party in someone else's...the monumental and simple pleasure derived from a hot cup of water with fresh squeezed lemon and a bit of honey...the chance to be there for someone in need.

I spend a lot of time making a joyful noise in this world.  Maybe this is my time to just relax and enjoy the sounds that I'm not making.

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