What Your Heart Says When Everything Is Still
By Chris Palmer, M.A.
It’s almost 1 a.m. as I write this. Everything is still but my thoughts, and tears flood my eyes.
Life consumes me when things are still. A million fractured thoughts about living and the enormity of it all.
When things are silent, there is nothing to distract me from the weight of my fragility and the brevity of life.
I write these words as the images of the ones I love flash endlessly, and especially my children. I want to live long enough to make sure they’re ok.
I’d like it to be longer; but if I could have that, at least I’d feel better.
It’s not easy being a human. And I’m not a pessimist. I feel so incredibly lucky and blessed to have even a moment here.
But love is the beautiful bittersweet snag that rips at the core of who I am, and who we all are.
I have never known a more substantial and fulfilling consciousness than when I am immersed in the presence of love.
A handful of amazingly significant friends.
My parents and family.
And my children.
In the end, these are the only things that make any of us feel truly alive.
And they make dying — and the maddening thought of leaving them — an agony we rarely speak of.
So it takes a moment like now — when everything is so still and all I can hear are my thoughts — to wake up the part of me that stays safely silent in the daily procession of endless activity.
It’s less painful NOT to think about these things. And distractions are everywhere. It’s so easy to medicate ourselves away from the truth.
But the truth is I’d give anything to be able to hold onto them forever. The ones I love. The ones that make my life a life.
And maybe that’s how you feel too.
When things are silent.
So my mind rushes to giving my kids a hug, wanting to hold my wife’s hand on the couch, a fading picture of my 86-year-old parents, and the love of my brothers and closest friends.
I grasp at what can’t be held. Life refuses to be caged.
Maybe the grand design of all of this requires pain as a contrast, so we can recognize the enormity of the beauty.
For now, I’ll take every moment I am given.
And I’ll try.
And I’ll love.
I just hope they know what they mean to me. And I hope you know what you mean to the ones you love.
So the next time things slow down — when the night erases all the noise and distraction of existence — I hope your thoughts show you the things that are the most important to you.
And in that deafening silence — when your eyes are so flooded with tears that you can barely see — you’ll know.
And I hope you hold onto every hug, every kiss, every kindness and connection.
Because in the end, what else really matters?