Isidra Mencos reflects on a period of forced silence that proved frustrating at first, but ultimately turned into a lifelong lesson on the serenity of listening.
The past few weeks I suffered from laryngitis. For five days I could hardly speak at all.
At the beginning the forced silence frustrated me. I tried whispering, but I found out that whispers irritate the vocal cords further. My doctor couldn’t find anything wrong: no infection, no polyps, no treatment: “Drink a lot of liquids and rest your voice,” she said.
As the days ticked by, I listened to my husband and my son without interrupting them or planning how to respond while they were talking.
I listened to my body, noticing when I was hungry—as opposed to craving a snack out of boredom or exhaustion. In my silence, I knew when I needed a nap, and when I felt calm or nervous.