Silence and Pause

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Today, I have two words for the day: Silence and Pause. Silence was the first word that popped into my head this morning, when I was contemplating the day ahead me. But, I wanted a word that conveys more of a deliberate or thoughtful state. If you take a moment to be silent, it can provide you with a moment to turn around a negative thought process. Pausing for a moment can yield similar results.

I picked those words today, in part, because I knew I was going to be meeting with my boss. We were going to discuss a new task I was starting for a client of ours. Sometimes, I find it challenging to hold my tongue when I meet with my boss. We are very similar individuals, and we can be equally as stubborn. This morning, my feathers bristled in anticipation of the meeting. Then, I was silent for a moment. Silence and pause can be quite helpful.

After selecting my words for the day, I went about the morning routine of getting the boys ready for daycare, feeding the dogs, etc. My husband works from home on Thursday, so he was taking the boys to daycare this morning. Before he left, he said, “Oh, before I forget. I noticed the freezer isn’t working properly. I noticed it last night, but I thought it was too late in the day to do anything.” He opened the freezer door, and I looked inside to find the ice holder full of water. The ice had melted. (We have an automatic ice maker.)

I was not prepared for what I saw in the freezer, and the words of the day flew out of my head. Silence and pause would not be words used to describe what happened next. I was mad. I was angry. Everything in the freezer was ruined and had to be thrown out. Well, everything except the bread. But, the frozen fruit, the soy nuggets, the pizza, the fish sticks, etc. All of the frozen foods were thawed and not nearly cold enough to salvage. And, many of the items in the refrigerator were no longer a safe temperature. Fortunately, we have an extra fridge in the basement, so I moved what we could keep to the fridge in the basement.

Several things upset me about the incident this morning. Perhaps surprisingly, the fact that the fridge broke didn’t upset me. I was upset (okay, angry) because though  my husband notice things melting in the freezer before he went to bed, he did not think to move the items downstairs. In fact, he didn’t even think to do it this morning. I literally threw away two garbage bags full of ruined food.

Before he left to take the boys to daycare, my husband and I had words. “Had words” makes me smile. I know many people who argue, but rather than say they argue they simply say, “we had words”. Anyhoo. We argued. But, you know what? It didn’t get all that ugly. And, you may be reading this and thinking it shouldn’t have gotten ugly. I agree, but I am challenged when it comes to not getting ugly. I’ve come a long way, still I have a long way to go. I am happy that I didn’t get carried away this morning. My husband would disagree, as he felt I was overreacting. Meh. Because it took me less than an hour to calm down, I think I did quite well. Plus, I made a point to let the boys know that Mommy and Daddy were  mad, but we still loved them. The boys didn’t seem bothered, as it wasn’t the first time they have seen us argue. Still, I felt it was important for me to acknowledge what was happening, rather than pretend everything was honky dory. If my parents had acknowledged their battles and reaffirmed their love for us kids in the heat of their moments, I wonder if I would have not been so afraid during their fights. Who knows.

After my husband left, I had to go to the bathroom. No worries – I’m not over sharing, promise. When I walked into the bathroom and saw my words for the day, I was reminded of what I needed to do. Sure, finding silence and taking a moment to pause AFTER I yelled may mean my timing is off; but, it’s never too late, right? Plus, I did take time to sit in silence and I did pause. And, with the silence and the pause I found clarity. Clarity. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t think this was the end of the world. I didn’t think “I am surely divorcing my husband now”; nor, did I think, “Ok, really, suicide is getting hard to ignore.”

I sat in silence, and I gave pause. I prayed. (Yes, I am religious.) I felt the feelings I so often push aside, and I realized life would continue. My husband did not deliberately ignore the food so it would spoil. My husband had no malicious intentions with the whole fridge breaking. I needed to cut him some slack. I didn’t apologize to my husband, and I don’t take back the anger I felt. But, I know the incident this morning was not the end of the world. This incident was not the end of me and my husband. This is big stuff, people. I walked through it, and I landed peacefully on the other side. Again, I realize this may seem like nothing to many of you. However, from where I sit, it is a step I have taken in the right direction. Before I left for work, I wrote a note to my husband. I wrote: “I am angry. Yes. But, I love you. And, I know this is not the end of the world, and this is not the end of us.”

And, guess what? I emailed my husband information on refrigerators, assuming we would have to get a new one. Later in the day, my husband replied back to me and let me know that he had fixed the refrigerator. My husband is an engineer. He checked out the circuit board or something (I am not an engineer) and he soldered a wire back to the board. Done. The refrigerator is cooling and freezing again. I married a great man. I truly did. And, I am grateful for embracing silence and giving pause to thoughts and reactions. And, I am grateful for the opportunity to say thank-you to my husband for being by my side, when I forget about silence and pause.

I still don’t think I overreacted. (smile) It is a drag that the food was wasted. Lots of money was tossed into the trash. Still, the experience and the takeaway was priceless. The words of the day reminded me to take a moment, which helped me find clarity. Today, I have two words for the day: Silence and Pause.

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