I thought bed rest would make me bored.
I thought I'd want to pull my hair out.
I thought my home would turn into a revolving door of new faces to entertain me.
I was wrong.
Instead, I have come to love the silence.
With no driving time or appointments, grocery store runs or lunch stops, the hours that constitute one day -- and then multiple days on end -- open up to me. And I have been left to learn how to fill these extra hours, these gifted hours.
I thought I would fill them with "purpose": people and books and writing and engaging my mind.
But instead, I have found that everything -- all of me -- has slowed down -- and that when work is done and I put down my phone, I fall into ... silence.
And I think of my people on the streets. I think of the hours they pass day after day. Those who are elderly and those who are disabled often sit ... they just sit ... for endless hours. They aren't "producing." They fail our society in the way we define useful, meaningful, or successful.
That is, unless there is more to "success" than I ever imagined.
What if just living ... sitting in silence ... being ... what if these things are really the lost art? What if these things are the essence of living?
For the first year or so, when I'd sit with my homeless friends, their comfort with silence made me uncomfortable. I'd fill their silence with my chatter. Slowly, I have permitted myself to just sit with them in silence. But it still felt awkward. Now, as I find myself in the land of endless hours, I too embrace silence -- I find peace here, and I think of them and how at peace they often seem as they sit in silence ... and I hope my times of silence will bond us in a new way when I return.