I've had laryngitis for three and a half weeks now. That's right, a sore throat and the inability to speak clearly. It's varied at times from just a deep, rough sounding hoarseness to little more than a wheeze of air passing through my larynx. First, it was strep, and the doctor treated that. Then, a week later, when I was congested and still couldn't talk, it was a sinus infection, and he treated that. A week later, when I went back to him feeling well, breathing fairly well, and still not able to make much of a sound at all with my speaking voice, he threw his hands in the air and referred me to a specialist. We'll see how that goes.
In the mean time, lots of tepid water, hot herbal teas, lozenges, all kinds of over-the-counter allergy meds, and ... silence. That's right, vocal rest. Don't talk. Even when you have some voice, don't use it. Those vocal cords are angry. They're inflamed and tired of being beaten with all of your coughing and wheezing and clearing of the throat and whispering. Just stop talking.
Some of you are laughing right now. Smiling, at least. I know. Kristen Horton can't talk. It's funny. I get it. I really do. I've laughed at myself plenty.
And, because I only blog about things that make me cry, I must confess I've also cried. Sometimes it's just so dadgum frustrating to not be able to make yourself understood plainly. And sometimes, a girl just wants to talk. She has things to say, probably not important things but things. Usually funny things. Or thoughts about her day. Or insight to add to a conversation. Things, I tell ya!
But, alas, I'm doing my best to be a good patient, hoping this passes sooner than later. And, doing my best to learn from the silence. So far, I've learned that I talk a lot. I've learned that I don't feel like a matter is settled until I've verbalized it to someone outside my own head. I've learned that even though I'm not good at it, I really like to sing. I've learned that other people are not nearly as uncomfortable with silence as I am. I've learned that when I know I can't say anything back, I am a much more engaged listener. I listen to hear what someone else is saying rather than anticipating my next opportunity to be heard.
And, I've learned that I have a choice to make. I can waste the silence, filling my time watching television or playing games on my phone. I can fill the silence with noise that has no value. Or, I can use the silence. I can listen for that still, small Voice that calls me to intercession. I can speak to the only One who can hear me right now, present my prayers and petitions with thanksgiving. I can love others well by carrying them to Jesus. I can read and meditate and memorize Scripture and fill all those spaces in my head with wisdom and encouragement and truth and life-giving Words. I can throw a pity party and grumble in my spirit against this unplanned, ill-timed silence. Or, I can praise God for the rest and the peace and the opportunity to hear all the things I might have otherwise missed without the silence.