I like quiet. The only time I don’t is when I am at a sporting event. Solitude and Silence are wonderful disciplines. But I am finding it increasingly difficult to find silence.
Just recently after a string of challenging events, I recognized I needed some peace-n-quiet. And what I meant was total silence. So I sat down on my couch. Then all of a sudden the icemaker activated, then the furnace kicked on, then my cellphone buzzed.
It was morning so I went outside. Surely it would be quiet there. But then I heard someone’s garage door open. Then I heard a motorcycle going fast up a nearby road. Then I heard a large truck navigating our neighborhood
Later that afternoon I went walking in the woods (or what is left of them) behind our house. Same thing, I would hear a car on the road or someone using a power tool (the sound of a circular saw travels!!)
So I tried that night. I built a fire in my small fire pit. But I couldn’t escape closing doors, music from someone’s house or simple traffic.
You can’t find silence while driving because vehicles are noisy themselves. Headphones only muffle the sound so much. I tried a closet and bathroom. You still hear various sounds. Even at night I cannot escape noise because my wife uses a white noise machine.
The more I thought about it, the sadder I got. I literally cannot escape sound. There really is no peace-n-quiet. This is not a good thing. Man should be able to escape (frequently) to enjoy the sounds of peace. If any noise should interrupt that peace it should be sounds of nature: birds, rain, the wind, thunder…
Finding solitude and silence are built in actions to help us hit the reset button in our life. Instead we opt to drown out the need of silence with…more noise! Music, TV, Internet, Socializing. I think our culture is afraid of pure silence. Silence brings to the front what is really on our hearts and minds – which can ultimately show our dark sides. Silence breaks down the ability to hide behind conversation and busyness. Silence forces me to deal with me. Noise (like alcohol) can allow me to avoid facing the hurt in my life.
I see noise treating the brain like a paddleball. Slamming it back and forth tirelessly 24 hours a day. Silence allows the whole person, especially the brain to take a much needed break.
If you have not done so, make sure to incorporate pure silence in your life. Find that place where you can go and be not merely alone, but alone with God. You will find him in the silence or gentle breeze.