Thursday, 18 January 2018

Too Many Words!

Sometimes it feels like there are too many words in my life.  Perhaps this is an odd thing to say, for someone beginning to consider themselves a writer, but, actually it's not the written ones that I'm bemoaning here.  I consider those to be more of a comforting friend, invited in on my terms. It's the incessant noise of the spoken ones, uttered by others and by the internal monologues in my head, that can crowd in and steal the silence, disturb hard-won peace. 

I would not want to live in a world of complete silence and don't want to convey ingratitude for any of the word-makers in my world. Anyone, however, with any experience of combining marriage, a job, small children, hobbies and church life (or any combination of two or three of the above!) will know how rare moments of glorious, undisturbed silence can seem. 

Small-child-owners, past and present will also, undoubtedly remember their unrivalled skill in relaying very long stories with no apparent sequence or point. Active listening ceases after the first few nods and the internal words take over: shopping lists, that phone call to the bank or the text you haven't sent yet, drown out the voice from the back of the car, as you say 'oh,' and 'really,' long after you've lost the thread. I've been jolted back into these conversations before, by my husband pointing out that I've just agreed to something I probably would have vetoed if I'd been giving the monologue my full attention (New Year's Resolution: be fully present). 

My children, additionally, have the impressive ability to talk to me simultaneously, on walks home from school and I have to judge who started their sentence first, to decide on the order of news-delivery. The opening words of the chosen story-teller are usually drowned out by the earnest protestations of he-who-has-to-wait-his-turn. 

When they fall silent (almost exclusively when sleeping), the internal words clamour - scheduling, planning, creating, strategising, leaving me longing for a 'mute' button.  It can be a good thing - my best blog-beginnings often start ricocheting round my mind in the shower.  And I've worked out where to sit Andrew in Year 11 in my tiny classroom so he doesn't distract Abigail or Tom, at 6 a.m, whilst washing my hair (I don't teach an Abigail, Andrew or Tom, for those concerned for confidentiality). But sometimes the words keep pounding and pushing, clamouring and yelling, when what I  need is God and silence and peace and rest. 
 It is a discipline and something we can practise being better at, to stop, breathe, be, actively halt the march of the words. And it's only in those moments that we might, just maybe, hear some better words from the only One who can speak life and peace into the clamourous din. 

Speak (a poem I wrote, last year

Speak, Lord,
For your servant is...
Oh hang on,
That joke on Facebook was fantastic - 
I must just...
... while I remember. 
There we are...

Speak, Lord,
For your servant is...
Awww look, they've commented on it...
Just take a sec to check...
Nice to make people smile. 

Speak, Lord
For your servant is...
Oh bother,  I
Didn't phone her to
Deal with the details
Of the Sunday School trip.
Won't take long. 

Speak, Lord,
For your servant is...
Blast this Bible app
Needs updating again! 
While I'm here
I may as well update
What's App, Instagram, 
Snapchat, the Met Office...
Ooh sunshine
For the church weekend away! 
Must pray that holds. 

Where was I?
Speak, Lord
For your servant is...
Ah! The Tesco delivery! 
I'd completely forgotten!
I'll just put
the cold stuff away,
Then I'll be 
back for a chat,  God.
The state of my cupboards...
... no time to sort.
I'll just tackle one...

And God looks
And loves
And longs,
Poised, willing, 
The word we so need, 
Ready on His lips,
As he patiently waits 
for us 
to finish our sentence.

Georgina Tennant is a secondary school English teacher in a Norfolk Comprehensive.  She is married, with two sons, aged 9 and 6, who keep her exceptionally busy! She feels intimidated by having to provide an author-biography, when her writing only extends, currently, to attempting to blog, writing the ‘Thought for the Week’ for the local paper occasionally, and having a poem published in a book from a National Poetry Competition! Her musings about life can be found on her blog:


  1. Fabulous!! And can totally relate having been there. I love the 'very long stories with apparently no point'I had a class full of those last term! And a daughter like that once too. Loved the poem as well. All I can say is, once they' ve grown and left home, you miss it. How perverse are we! I suppose every season has it pluses and minuses. You write beautifully Georgina x

    1. Thank you so much, Deborah, for your lovely encouragement. This is why I teach teenagers... I can't imagine a whole class is this age group!

    2. Thank you for your lovely encouragement Deborah. This is why I teach teenagers... I can't imagine a whole class full of food she group!!

  2. I'd echo Deborah's comment above

  3. You really captured how easily it is to get distracted by "stuff" - in German we call this "Kleinkram" which can be translated as trivialities.

  4. Loved the description of the internal monologue whilst making listening-and-responding noises. Nowadays - my children are long since grown up - I use it with boring relatives and off-loaders. In fact, I think of myself as a bit like a ventriloquist! (two people in one)

    1. Ha ha a useful skill! Thanks for commenting! ☺️

  5. I can relate to what you wrote about. How we need to be quiet, tune out all other voices so we can hear God's voice. I've just bought on Kindle "Whispers of Rest" a 40 day devotional by Bonnie Gray on that topic. I've also signed up for her Facebook book club. If you're interested in knowing more, here's the link to her website: