I absolutely love our kitchen. It is spacious – which is a rarity in these parts – and is full of warm colors perfect for weathering the long, dark days of an Irish winter; and the unpredictable summers that are so famous to this area. It’s big enough to host a family with loads of kids for dinner and yet cozy enough to cradle two friends with cups of tea as we sit and solve the worlds problems…or at least support each other as we work through our own. It has character. Charm. But it does have one small flaw…
It has a florescent light.
The aesthetics don’t bother me. Neither does the quality of light – it is actually one of the brightest lights in the house. The problem comes from the incessant buzzing noise it makes when on. It is so subtle, however, that you don’t notice it is even there. You go about your day, your chores, your cups of tea served and drank, without an ounce of recognition of any sound at all. That is, however, until you turn the light off.
The light goes off and suddenly your ears ring as though you have just been at a rock concert, the new found silence is so deafening. It’s not until the stressor is gone that you realize what effect it was having on you. I don’t know about you, but there is a tangible, physical relief when a light like that is turned off. And it is at that point I wonder:
How in the world did I not notice it? How was I able to function with any kind of normalcy? If I feel this much relief when it is gone, how could I not realize the effect it was having on me?
The other night, as I was getting the house ready for bed I turned out that kitchen light as I do every night and once again noticed the sudden lack of sound; and how just before that I would have said the house was silent. Funny how your entire perspective can change with the flick of a switch.
My husband and I have been having some amazing discussions lately. Some of them difficult, to be sure, but amazing none the less. And as we have shared with each other, and opened up to one another in ways long forgotten I realized just how many florescent lights I had turned on in our relationship; and in my life in general.
I was hiding from the hard stuff. Avoiding the painful conversations. Turning a blind eye to the glaring shortcomings in my own heart and attitude. The noise level was deafening! And the crazy part?
I didn’t even realize the noise was there until it started to go away. By turning on all of these proverbial switches – avoidance, self-reliance, misdirected stubbornness – I was adding a soundtrack of useless white noise to my life; to my marriage; to my family. I still don’t think I fully know the effect that noise was having on me. But as he and I walk about our life turning off unnecessary switches, the freedom we are finding as the static diminishes is astonishing.
Which leads me to the question: what white noise is pressing in on you from all sides? What static is clawing at you day in and day out that you might not even realize? What switches do you need to turn off?
Because there is immense freedom, and light, to be found when the lights go out.