I told Bill that if Sandra is going to listen to her headphones while she’s filing then I should be able to listen to the radio while I’m collating so I don’t see why I should have to turn down the radio because I enjoy listening at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven.
~Milton, OFFICE SPACE
"Reasonable volume" — that’s a relative term, isn’t it? Sure, I like my music loud. And I can sometimes be outspoken. Maybe too brash, by some people’s standards. So out of respect (for myself and others), I tend to use my inside voice, more often than not.
They’re not separate entities, by any means; it’s just that one’s more amplified than the other.But for today, I’m celebrating the lessons that come of living sotto voce .
LESSON ONE: I had my first physical therapy appointment yesterday. While he praised my commitment to physical fitness, the PT said my injuries were (at least in part) due to overzealousness. "You don’t have to work so hard to get the results you want," he said. "Tone it down a bit…trust me on this one." I’m listening to everything he says. Because, y’know, I’ve only been granted one body for this lifetime. I don’t want it to wear out before I do!
LESSON TWO: On my best days, practicing for my voice lessons is an act of bravery. On the worst, an exercise in defeat. But I keep showing up to the (metaphoric) microphone, giving it my best. By objective measures, my progress is slow. I talked about this with my voice teacher yesterday, and she reminded me that music’s not an all-or-nothing sort of thing. It’s okay to hum, to play my tambourine instead, or to lose myself in the lyrics that someone else is singing. It’s all about making a joyful noise as I see fit…about finding the way back to my own melody.
LESSON THREE: When I’m overwhelmed, I tend to go inward. It’s not always an advantagous way to navigate the world, though, so I’m trying to develop new ways of handling cacaphonous situations–especially since those tend to be the times when I need companionship the most. But! In the quiet, I sometimes hear a "still, small voice," whispering truths I need to hear. And so it was, just yesterday, when I was writing/revising a passage about one of my father’s sermons. Clear as day, I heard my father preaching. And underneath his voice, a deeper understanding of the way that sermon impacted me then–and echoes, even now.
So on this Thankful Thursday, I’m grateful for the still, small voices that speak to me in the quiet. I’m all ears.