Running in Silence + Living in Grace

IMG_4525.JPG

My thumb rested where it always does – hovering over my podcast app, ready to dig my ears into the latest marketing tips and social media tactics. 

But yesterday, as I went out for my morning run and my purple Nikes began to swish against the sidewalks of Ghent, I tucked my phone back into my pocket.

It wasn’t a big decision. Not in that moment, at least. All I can say is that it’s been a busy few weeks. My mind has been on tumble dry. Starting a business, being a mom, school starting back up, my husband preaching at what felt like a different church every Sunday for two months straight, and supporting our little family on my income.

All throughout, the recreation time I’ve had has been bolstered with voices of leading experts. They all tell me the same thing, it seems:

Reach for more. Do better. Count your analytics. Get ten percent off with my code on a mattress…

They say all together, like ingredients in some sort of self-indulgent social pastry. 

Normally I reach for their advice and expertise/guesswork like I reach for my coffee in the morning. I need it. It bolsters me for the work I have ahead of me. It makes me feel empowered, emboldened and like I have a friend close by.

But yesterday I’d had enough, for a little while at least and ran a little over 3.5 miles to the sound of nothing but my feet hitting the ground, and the chirps of the streets waking up to the weekend alongside me.

Best. Run. Ever.

It made me realize how very rare and precious time in quiet really is these days. My mind raced – not with anxieties or a to-do list – with possibilities, dreams and strategy for a new project. And what’s more, it made me tune in to the here and now. 

For once, I wasn’t speculating about the future or panicked about how I was going to make All The Things happen when it comes to my dreams or goals. 

We all do it, and I’m one of the biggest offenders. We sit in cafes with working internet as a shield. We keep the television on because we’re afraid of being truly alone with our thoughts in the quiet.

When we do get quiet, when we do pay attention to those voices that are able to be heard above the noise of our quarreling content machines, that’s when the magic happens.

As a wife, a mom, a writer and, frankly, as a woman, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to zero in on one task at a time. If I’m writing, I’m listening to music and drinking coffee. If I’m driving, I’m practicing for my Broadway debut while rapping (yes, rapping) along to the Hamilton soundtrack or catching up with a long lost friendship on speakerphone.

I had a chance to fall in love with Norfolk, Virginia all over again.

To recognize the little lushes of green overgrown between the cobblestone streets. To remember why I even started here in the first place: to be an advocate for the businesses I believe in and want to support in the community I love.

Brett Tubbs