Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sound of Silence

Gerhard said, “the enemy of this age is noise and business.” I had forgotten. It was so long ago that I heard these words. Well, maybe only eight months. I am quick to forget. Dr. de Rosset says we must evaluate every bit of technology we allow into our lives—is it for better or worse? This life is short; we cannot afford to make big mistakes over and over again about how we spend our time—and what we allow into our time.
This has really been getting to me lately. I have been feeling increasingly “oppressed” by things from without—bombarded by technology, media, voices, sounds. Do you ever want to scream? Is it ever too much? I think it ought to be. Honestly, sometimes I get to the point where I can’t even hear myself think. When I notice this, I usually don’t even have words that enable me to express the feelings—only some sort of exclamation; “what the hell!” or something like that. “Shut up already!!”
I come to find, however, that I am the one who is most at fault, for I have not fought for silence. We must do battle with the noise and business. It is not an easy battle. There must be losses, sacrifices made. I went to Africa for six months and decided not to bring any music. This did not mean I heard no noise or music—only that I listened to it a lot less. A whole lot less. Life was much quieter…and I think that added to the richness.
The silence and solitude added to the depth of things learned because life was slower and the increased quiet helped me process, dig, discover, reflect, consider. Dare I say that it is easier to hear God when we are quiet? Something happens when we allow so much into our time. Too many distractions make learning unnecessarily difficult—or, perhaps, hinder it altogether. I am not at all saying that noise and business (or “music”) keeps us from growing, though there is much truth in this, I think. I am saying that we must guard our quiet space.
I remember tearing out a phrase from a magazine once that caught my eye: “a tribute to the quiet place.” Sometimes I ache for the quiet place. I long for it. Do you? But then we cannot get there, because we have entangled ourselves with the noise and business of this life. In desperation, we might try to run there. But we usually trip and fall—oops, forgot about that. I cannot seem to get rid of the sounds. And again, we are distracted.
Ah, time to step back. Time to grab some scissors. Praying for discernment, let’s go mad with the scissors—cutting these entangling distractions that tie us down.

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.” -Mother Teresa

"We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship." -C.S. Lewis


hannah said...
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hannah said...

Beautiful friend! Thank you for this post, I very much enjoyed it. Wednesdays (today) I usually get out of class around 5:15, just in time to begin catching the sunset. The class I'm getting out of is my movie class so I usually come out and will keep the ipod stashed because I need a break from the noise. As I walk, I have this bright sun on my face and some fresh, new, and moving thoughts from what I just watched, and I can't help but walk a little bit slower(cliche but true). It's one of my favorite times of the week. The last movie we watched was awful, but today's movie, though a bit dark, had an incredibly rich message, for me at least. Anyway, the reason I share this story is because I completely agree with you about the sound of silence. I think this is one of my favorite times of the week because when i get out there is no people or cars all over campus shouting and making ruckus. There's a slower feel and usually I just want to stop, sit down on a bench, and journal. I think I will make a conscious effort to cut my noises down because yeah, at camp since we didn't really have the luxuries of movies and music(except live music) I definitely did do more digesting. Thanks for the blog and the needed reminder:)

P.S. when I started reading this blog a Mother Teresa quote came to mind (a different one). I left my Mother T book at my parents but when i get it I'll be sure to send the quote your way! I think you'll like it