Archive | June, 2011

Forced Silence Is Golden

26 Jun

I lost my voice this past weekend. Thursday night it was definitely going, by Friday, it was gone. At work my boss had to answer the phone and field questions to people coming up to ask me questions. I did a lot of work I’d been putting off that didn’t require talking. All weekend when I went out, I had to bring with me a note pad and pen so that I could explain my predicament. People kept asking me how this could happen. I honestly don’t really know how it happened, except that I did not feel good last weekend and had a sore throat. Somehow I felt okay throughout the week but then it turned into laryngitis. Not to mention, dust from our apartment had been gathering all over every surface because of the plumbers re-doing all of the pipes in my building. I have no idea how long some of that dust has been in the walls. Possibly for longer than I’ve been alive.

My BFFs this weekend, Throat Coat tea and honey

Several friends mentioned I should embrace the silence. At first, I laughed that off. How could someone who talks to themselves even when no one else is around enjoy having to be quiet? I admit it, I didn’t like being in silence. It feels like a loss of control. I’m quite the talker. I also like to sing songs. It really is hard when you can’t even sing a song! But being forced into silence, I realized that I say a lot of ridiculous and stupid things and do not choose my words very wisely. I’m a blurter. I blurt out whatever comes into my head sometimes and don’t worry about the consequences. This is dangerous. I realized that when you can only eek out a few syllables, you really watch what you say. When you are forced to whisper but know that whispering makes it worse anyway, your whispers are chosen very carefully. When I started to get the least little bit of my voice back, I could feel myself pushing it. I noticed I got greedy and tried to talk so much that now my voice is hurting again. What is it in me that makes me want to say so much all of the time? Am I really that important?

Several people laughed at how they liked the silent me. Others said they felt really sad because I couldn’t be a part of the conversation as I usually am. Everyone seemed to notice though. It’s hard to not notice someone scribbling furiously trying to keep up with other snippets of conversation going on around her, trying to interject different comments. A lot were lost in translation. I realized that my comedic timing doesn’t work very well on paper.

So in these few silent moments that I have left before my voice fully heals, I think I will embrace the silence. There’s something freeing about not being able to speak. Scientologists can’t grill you, as I learned last night when trying to get to a party that was near a Scientology storefront. People give you two tea bags at Starbucks instead of one because they feel sorry for you. You get better at writing fast on paper. You realize how hard it must be to be mute or deaf and it gives you a different perspective. You learn to enjoy Throat Coat tea and salt water. You can watch movies all weekend and call it “resting.” You can ignore conversations you don’t really want to engage in. You can listen better to other people and not just impatiently pretend as you wait to share your next thought. And most importantly, you can start to think about what it is you say and be able to ask yourself the question: “Is this really important?”

Just part of Friday night's conversation...used three other notepads this weekend

Words are said to either build up or destroy. I want to be more of a builder, but a lot of times I say things just to be funny so that people will like me. I want to use my words to speak the truth. To be a light. To edify. In two weeks or so, I’ll have this opportunity again, to be silent. My roommate has to go on forced voice rest so that she can try to heal the cyst on her vocal chords. I said that I’d be silent with her for a day in solidarity. I’ve now done almost three full days without a voice. Is it weird that I’m actually kind of looking forward to the vocal fast? It’s kind of nice to tell myself to be quiet. I can finally hear myself think.


Another blog I’m following

23 Jun

I’m living vicariously through four recent high school graduates who are on a 20 day road trip before they all go off to different places. It’s only day 3 of their trip, so I invite you to join me in reading about their adventures. Three of them I’ve known for about a year and a half. They are driving for 20 days through the country until they reach Canada and they plan to share their adventures with the world through their blog. It’s a fun little way to start my morning. 🙂

How Harry Potter Helped Me Get Over My Past

22 Jun

My living room

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I’ve been reading it. I admit it. Guilty pleasure since I was 19 years old, on summer break in college and just had to go out and buy the fourth book at 2AM from the Super K-Mart two towns away. I haven’t been AS obsessed since those days but recently, I decided I wanted to get ready for the seventh and final movie. Thus, I picked up the book and three days later I had finished it after reading on lunch breaks and after work. It became a short-lived escape but in the midst of my mental vacation, I made a connection that changed the way I thought about my own life.

First, a brief-watered-down-background-without-spoilers: Harry Potter spends the better part of the book trying to destroy parts of Voldermort’s (the evil wizard’s) soul. These fragments of the soul are imparted onto objects, animals, and sometimes people and they are called horcruxes. At the very apex of the book, Harry must fully come to terms with the soul connection that he shares with Voldermort. This connection is a result of something that happened long ago in Harry’s life when he was a baby. Little does Harry realize the depth of the connection that he has with Voldemort but in order to move on with his life, Harry has to cut the tie that they share.

My epiphany came because of another life-changing book that I’ve been reading simultaneously, “Sex and the Soul of A Woman,” by Paula Rinehart. Rinehart, a counselor who has worked with thousands of women (and men) over several decades, describes what a soul tie is and how we can give ourselves to another person (whether that be a family member, friend, or romantic interest) and make an unhealthy tie to them when we cross physical, spiritual, or emotional boundaries. The result is disastrous and unless, with God’s help, we break the soul ties we have to these people, we will never fully be able to move on with our lives.

As I am in a season of trusting God and discovering the joy He has for me, I felt convicted that letting go of more soul ties was in order for me to connect in a deeper way with him. While walking through this painful but cleansing process of cutting soul ties with former boyfriends and friends with whom I’ve had unhealthy relationships, I found myself thinking about Harry Potter and his relationship with Voldemort. As I researched what a horcrux was in JK Rowling’s world, here’s what I discovered (after reading Wikipedia): “There is no limit to the number of Horcruxes a wizard can create. However, as the creator’s soul is divided into progressively smaller portions, he loses more of his natural humanity and his soul becomes increasingly unstable. Under very specific conditions, a soul fragment can be sealed within an object without the intention or knowledge of the creator.”

Yep, sounds exactly like a soul tie except without the wizarding lingo. There is no limit to the number of people we can connect with when we are craving love, respect, admiration, and for someone to know us in an intimate way. That craving to be known leads us to what Rob Bell in his book, “Sex God”, calls “the search for the unconditional embrace.” Sadly, I know this because I’ve done it myself for years without realizing it. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to want someone to know you, love you, and connect with you in an intimate way. I think that desire is God-given. But when it happens too fast, out of context, before the time is right, and a person becomes an idol put on a pedestal, it can quickly become an unhealthy soul tie. And the more soul ties I’ve made in my life, the more my soul, like the soul of Voldemort (which he separated  into eight pieces), became unstable. The good news is that for me, (and for Harry who has a soul tie to Voldy in Book 7), there is hope. Soul ties can be broken. And when they are, that can lead to freedom. I have a post-it on my mirror that has a verse on it: “It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set you free so stand and do not be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”

Dancing in the rain when I was 19- A moment of freedom

I want to trust God in the areas where I need to heal. I slowly, sometimes with trepidation, let God into those places in my heart that I have long since determined would be shut forever. When I do, it’s scary, but it’s also good because in those moments when I do, part of my soul is restored and I taste the sweetness of freedom. I can’t tell you how Harry handles his soul tie, you’ll have to wait and see on July 17. But as for me, I choose freedom. Since making that choice to break the soul ties, I’m different. I don’t feel as bound to my past. I am able to let go. It’s still a journey I am on and it’s not easy. But then again, Harry’s journey wasn’t exactly a cake walk either…

Men Don’t Get Enough Credit

5 Jun

I’ve recently encountered several men in my life who seem to need encouragement. I saw a funny video called “Nice Guys” that had a bit of truth to it as it relates to the kinds of guys some girls like to date. It reminded me that nice guys don’t get a lot of credit and they deserve it.

Whether they’ve lost their job or are facing a depression or don’t have any current direction or are just plain frustrated about the obstacles in front of them, I know that from time to time men really need encouragement so that they can believe in themselves and continue on.  Not that I know what it’s like to be a man, I don’t claim to. But I think our society spends a lot of time giving guys a bad reputation and sometimes as a woman, I feel bad for them because it is undeserved.  I know so many quality guys who are living out their lives, trying to be faithful to their values. Guys so want to be respected and I think women can do a lot more toward that. I’d rather contribute to helping men grow than to add to the problem by just expecting the men in my life to fall into a stereotype that makes them out to be the bad guys.  In response to all of these feelings I’ve had recently, I wrote a poem. It’s short. Simple. But it expresses a lot of what I feel about so many of the amazing men in my life that I encounter and get to call my friends and family.

Words For Him Who Can Not See

By Melissa Mills

June 5, 2011

The you I see is strong not weak,

The you I know is beyond belief.

You disappoint yourself, not me,

You strive and try but fail to see.

You tackle obstacles big and small,

You run now where you used to crawl.

I’m so proud of a man I’m privileged to know,

Of how he’s so committed to grow.

Don’t disappear before you’ve begun,

Don’t end the race until you’ve won.

You’re close to discovering what I’ve known all along,

You are amazing, gifted, worthy, and strong.

Don’t let fear cripple your stride,

Or allow yourself a puffed up pride.

Instead hold true to the man I admire,

Humble, courageous, and full of fire.

And Now For Something Completely Different…

2 Jun

Missing My Friend

One of Jessica's first gigs on stage

This song reminds me of a simple time, when you and I were younger. We didn’t know much although we thought we knew it all. One thing we did know was how to laugh. We knew how to find adventure around every corner. We believed in each other and that was enough. All our flaws. All our innocence. Your crazy, my weird. We forged something beautiful akin to sisterhood in several California seasons.

But you’ve been gone now for four years. Living where beaches have longer grass and humid weather weaves its way into hurricane season. This song still reminds me of you. Your passion for a band and how you breathed that passion into my life. And not just about that, about so many things. God. Songs played on guitar. Cars with their windows down. Driving around.

I don’t believe that people complete you but if I did, you’d be one of those puzzle pieces of my life that’s not in the box anymore. The one the kid can’t find that’s probably gathering dust under a couch somewhere next to a stale cheeto. All that to say, I miss you. On nights like tonight when I’m walking around during the beginning of another California summer, the kind you’d love, the kind with blue skies tracked with puffy jet streams and star jasmine taking your breath away, I think of you. I miss you. I miss how you know me and made me feel safe like very few people in the world have. With a look. With a laugh. Just by being you. In the lonely moments, I know that you’re still there knowing me somewhere. It’s just not here.

%d bloggers like this: