Our first instinct in trouble is to text a friend, send a wave of texts, scroll through the phone and vent to a million people. It’s to shout on my social media all the injustice of my life, and secretly hope I get a ton of replies that affirm my shaking fist.
I suspect this is because I need to be told I’m not so bad, that it’ll be fine, that it’ll all work out in the end.
But that’s not my real motive. What I really want is the copdepedent emotional rush that comes from a response so I don’t have to confront the ugliness of my soul. I’m using the Pavlovian-conditioned dopamine of a text message to cover an honest confrontation with the abyss inside, so that I can avoid the monster coiled around my guts for one more day. I use other people’s affirmation like a narcotic to gloss over the brutal self-surgery of my own selfishness. I skate on the surface of my electronic stream of complaints without even processing how I feel first.
To protect my ego: I dump the cargo without letting the wounds make me human.
I’m too much of a coward to say it’s my fault. I don’t want to say that it might not be okay, because I brought it on myself. I don’t want to say it’s too late. I especially don’t want to say I’m my own problem. But sometimes this is all true, and I need to know the weight of my own evil if I’m to apportion the strength to fight myself.
In the silence, I learn who I really am. I learn that I need help, and not from my phone and connected media and the buzz of the “like” button. I need the help that only comes with the quiet digestion of my imperfection. Silence is now our only honesty.
The stillness is terrifying. The disconnection from the plugged-in world threatens to crush me with grinding loneliness. Yet: I need the valley. I need to dig deep. I need to reach into my lungs and wrestle with the smog of my unresolved tension. I need to plunge into my swamp and kill the parasitic crawlers. I want to jump the chasm between the inconsolable chaos of my haphazard heart toward the potential of a far greater self reborn of divinity. This part of the journey is between me, myself, and God.
I need to step away. I need to quit relying on flesh to help flesh. I need God. I will cherish the silence.