Tag Archives: Noise

Hush Up

Then Moses and the levitical priests spoke to all Israel, saying: Keep silence and hear, O Israel!
Deuteronomy 27:9 (NRSV)

We grow up being continuously hushed.

  • Be quiet. Your mom is sleeping.
  • Be quiet. Dad and I are trying to watch this.
  • I don’t want to hear another word out of you. Go to sleep.
  • Be quiet, class. Eyes up here.
  • Listen up, team!
  • Shhhhh!

The truth is that it’s difficult to hear amidst all the noise. Even Jesus said, “those who have ears to hear, listen to me.” But in order to listen we have to silence, or tune out, all the other noise around us.

I’m not sure that there has been another time in human history that is as noisy as the time we’re living in. We are deluged by noise. Noise from ever present phones that beep, buzz, and blare. Noise from televisions that are constantly on in the background. Noise from endlessly streaming playlists. Noise from planes, trains, and automobiles. The noise, at times, seems never ending.

So, how am I supposed to hear myself think?

How am I supposed to hear what my loved ones are really saying?

How am I supposed to hear God’s still, small voice in my spirit?

Today, as I switch off the satellite music channel playing in my office, I’m thinking about my need for quiet. I’m contemplating the reality of noise becoming an ever present distraction in my life. I wonder how much I miss because even when I try to listen I cannot hear myself, or God through the din.

Today, I’m consciously choosing to hush up, and listen.

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featured image: Nuno Martins via Flickr

Letting Silence Do the Heavy Lifting

 

source: Sarith C via Flickr
source: Sarith C via Flickr

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Revelation 8:1 (NIV)

Silence is loud.

In my work as a Quality Assurance analyst (e.g. “your call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes…”) I’ve learned that a Customer Service Representative has roughly seven seconds of unexplained silence before the customer on the other end of the line begins to get nervous. We live in a world of noise and we are increasingly comfortable with the constancy of sound. So much so that silence gets uncomfortable. In fact, my friend who is a therapist has often talked to me about how silence can be an effective tool for motivating a person to reflect and respond. “I let silence to the heavy lifting,” he tells me.

It was silence that leapt off the page this morning. The first verse of today’s chapter is unique. Whenever heaven is described throughout God’s Message it’s a noisy place. God’s throne room is always described as being filled with sounds of music, prayers, praise, and thunder. Today, we read that that there was dead silence. Not just for seven seconds but for almost a half hour. There’s some seriously heavy spiritual lifting going on.

I like to start my mornings in quiet. It’s not perfectly silent, of course. Even with my hearing problems I can clearly hear traffic and all sorts of morning noises. Nevertheless, before the chaos and noise of the day begins to pollute my senses I like to have a short time of getting quiet and acknowledge God’s presence. I let the silence do the heavy lifting and unearth what I need to address or confess so that I can find a bit of spiritual alignment before things get really crazy.

Shhhhhhhh!

 

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Chapter-a-Day Psalm 11

But the Lord is in his holy Temple;
    the Lord still rules from heaven.
He watches everyone closely,
    examining every person on earth.
Psalm 11:4 (NLT) 

It is early. I’d planned on taking this week off of my chapter-a-day posts, but this morning I woke before dawn and, after laying awake for a while, felt called to the quiet. Rarely these days am I around so much noise and activity. The Playhouse has been full of life and kinetic energy this week with five very busy young people and six weary adults trying desperately to keep up. So much fun. So much noise. So much laughter and screaming. So many tears. The surround sound of life abundant.

I’ve always found quiet in the mornings, even at home in our empty nest where things are pretty much quiet all day. “The Lord is in His holy Temple” today’s chapter tells us, and how interesting to have God’s Message remind those who follow Jesus that we ourselves are temples of God’s Spirit, who dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). And so, as light slowly rises in the east I come to the quiet to center in, to seek the Lord in His holy Temple where He can be found, and to find peace at the start of my day. I come to the quiet even on days that will be filled with relative quiet, but I find this time with God especially rich on days that I know will be brimming over with life’s joyful noises.

I thought I would take the week off from my chapter-a-day posts, and yet here I am once again. I come back to the quiet. I rest on the page.

Chapter-a-Day Deuteronomy 27

Moses and the Levitical priests addressed all Israel: Quiet. Listen obediently, Israel. Deuteronomy 27:9 (MSG)

I came back from a business trip to Grand Island last week with a nasty little head cold. The cold did a number on my energy level and for the past four nights I’ve slept particularly long and hard. The result is that I’ve risen an hour or two (or three) later than normal and that has thrown my routine off significantly. My body is recuperating, but I feel my soul getting out of sorts.

I’m a morning person. I always have been. I drove my parents crazy because I wouldn’t sleep in. For years, I have channeled my early rising nature in positive ways. I normally spend a couple of hours each morning in my home office in uninterrupted quiet. I pray. I read. I write my chapter-a-day post. I listen.

The cacophany of noise around us continues to grow unabated. Television, cell phone, radio, iPods, DVDs, Netflix, YouTube, iTunes, MP3 players, and Blu-Ray discs. We are plugged in, tuned in, surfing, chatting, texting, and tweeting. Not one of these things is a bad thing. I sometimes wonder, however, about the cumulative effect of all the noise around us.

My time of quiet each morning is like a way-station in the journey. It recharges my spiritual batteries as I unplug from the noise and take the time to listen for God’s still, small voice whispering to my soul deep within. When I don’t have that time of quiet in the morning, I begin to notice in the way my spirit gets brittle and edgy during the day.

I believe that we all need regular doses of quiet in our lives. It’s as important, if not more important, today as it was when God demanded it of Moses’ followers thousands of years ago. Quiet doesn’t happen regularly unless I make it happen. Sometimes, like the past few days, my bodies need for recuperative rest takes precedence over my morning quiet time. It’s only reminded me, however, how much I need it.

Shhhhhh. Listen.