It is funny how sometimes we find ourselves doing the same things in life but for different reasons. For example, this morning Tom is sick. He has been sick for the last couple of days, he even had a decent fever. It is now 8:23 in the morning on Sunday in January 2015. Normally we would be walking up the cement sidewalk to church right now, sitting next to his family and talking to Jim, the sharply dressed widower who sits in front of us whom I admire greatly. But instead of having pleasant yet twanged with sadness conversations with Jim I am here doing an array of chores. I let the dog out, fed the dog, put a log in the fire, put away clean dishes, put dirty dishes in the sink, took the trash out, let the dog out again, and did a load of laundry. Not that any of these are awful or hard tasks, and I wasn’t made to do them, I wanted to. I volunteered. I wasn’t even asked. But no mind the matter of household chores, because everyone does that. The real point of my ramblings is that I was quite when I did it, I was silent with my voice and careful and slow with all of my movements.
Setting the dishes daintily on top of each other so they only made a soft “clink………
Closing the door in stages so all you heard was the air being pushed out of the frame. I cracked our bedroom door just so the heat could still get in but enough that he would be blocked from all unnecessary sound; especially that from dear young pup who doesn’t always heed the silent advice. I was meticulous, every move I made was calculated with the sole intention of not waking Tom and letting him sleep. I did it out of love. I was happy even, with a smile on my face, glad that he could hopefully sleep his sickness away.
But I had done all these things before; for a different reason. At 7:16 nearly every Saturday and Sunday I lived with him and mom.
I had set the dishes on top of each other so daintily that all you heard was a soft “clink………..
I had closed the door slowly that all you heard was the air coming out of the frame.
I had tip-toed across the floorboards, toes to heel, pretending I was a stealthy Indian so I didn’t make noise even when walking.
I had closed the bedroom door fully, holding my breath as I pushed it into the lock centimeter by centimeter.
I was meticulous, every move I made was calculated, with the sole intention of not waking dad up so he would stay asleep.
And not yell, and scream, and call me stupid, and throw things, and yell some more, and have this mad, ravenous eyes.
I was motivated by fear; for he was a snarling wolf seeking to devour you if you disturbed his den, his sleeping habits, any of his habits.
Right he was to want to stay asleep, not right to snarl, snap, bite, claw, maim you if you did. The Indian learned to stay away from the wolf, my sneakiness lead to my survival.
Eventually, I got away from that wolf den, that ominous house that should have been loving but instead sent me running. Loudly.
The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same. I am still that stealthy Indian; I do it well, I’ve had the practice. The silence is loving now, calculated by how best to serve and not how best to survive. Yet all the more still: silent.