Saturday, August 9, 2014

In the Quiet

I am addicted to background noise.

If there is silence in the house, my first objective it to give it some rhythm. Thank you, Spotify.

When I got my first computer before leaving for college, I developed the habit of falling asleep to a movie or TV show whispering from my laptop from my bedside table.  Since then until May 25, 2013, I estimate at least 60% of the nights included the white noise of some TV show, book on tape, or movie buzzing in my room during the sleeping hours.

Image courtesy of jannoon028. And
Here's the thing with bad habits (run away screaming whenever anyone tells you they know "THE thing" with a bad connoted reality): we all know well when something is a bad habit versus a good or neutral one.  We know, but what does that matter if we choose to ignore that?

It's less that we know this action is a bad one as it is that we acknowledge there are some untoward consequences. Yeah, those. We'd like those to halt, please.

I knew I wasn't getting enough sleep. I knew I was addicted to the extent that forcing (yes, forcing) myself to leave my computer on the desk in the corner of my room was eventually accepted as futile after an hour or two of laying in silence that hit the volume of a five-piece brass band.  Of course, after such a loud nothing I would pop up, grab the powerful computer and huff back into my familiar viewing spot.

I knew I was watching people who would otherwise not be role models every night, letting them talk their way into my subconsciousness. It was a retreat and I was eager to give in to it.

The other thing with bad habits (run!) is: the first few days of giving up the rotten routine are the hardest and after that, it can be a brave new world.  Watching videos on my computer to fall asleep deprived me of time to be in silence.  It's no coincidence that I felt a foggy wall grow between God and me at this time.

So what happened May 25, 2013?  I married a man who treasures the virtues of silence (read: no screens in the bedroom).  Cold turkey, my friends.

Then I relapsed when I got my first smart phone about six months into our marriage.  I brought my phone in the room "just in case" I needed to remember something in preparation for student teaching the next morning or "just in case" Jack the Ripper charged into our room.  That silence got louder and louder and I grabbed the screen next to my head every. Single. Night.

It is still a temptation to bring up my phone at bedtime, you know, just in case.  But the bad mood and fogginess I felt with my husband on the mornings after staying up two hours too late, flicking through my phone, are too rich for my blood.  I choose good consequences over bad ones, one day at a time.  I find God does arrive in the silence and the consequences are more sleep and more joy.

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