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Dialing Down the Noise

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What used to be a sanctuary, has turned into an evil place. I find myself nervously waiting for the horrendous noise to begin, the one that sends a shiver down my spine and sends me running from the room. There are too many Dyson Airblades in public bathrooms today.


I’m the ultimate multitasker. It used to be, I would visit any and every bathroom I’d meet along my way. I could do my business while doing business and no one would be the wiser. I would take full advantage of my mute button and a long-winded caller on the other end—there were few wasted minutes in my day. It’s different now, and I’ve learned to make adjustments. I have an iPhone. Instead of talking, I now text and email my way through a pit stop. Please, don’t judge.


I’m extremely sensitive to loud noise. Crowded restaurants with bad acoustics are my enemy. My son, Howie, recently finished up a stint as a professional drummer in a rock band. While he wore ear plugs, I was in the audience softening the sounds the old-fashioned way, with my hands cupped over my ears. And don’t get me started about snowmobiles and motorcycles! With all the loud noises invading our world, I appreciate silence even more. It’s a thing of beauty, to ride my bike through the forest preserve near my house, listening only to quiet.


There are times when noise is good. I’ll loudly cheer for my team when there’s three minutes left and it’s a close game. Or, if I’m driving home late at night and feel drowsy, I’ll crank up my car radio and sing along in my “outdoor voice” to stay alert. But aside from a few exceptions, it occurs to me that a quieter world is a better place. It doesn’t make much sense when a disagreement between a husband and wife or parent and child turns into screaming match. It’s really up to us to create a world around us that honors silence. I can walk away from an ear-splitting hand dryer. I can control my tone of voice in a heated conversation. All this is good, but to really dial down the noise around us, we need to turn up the volume within us. Listen to the small still voice inside. Relax in the silence of prayer.


Listening for You”


Time and time again,
I bring my concerns
and worries to You,
but when I try to hear Your voice,
something always gets in the way.


The phone rings.
The oven timer goes off.
Someone calls my name.
Please help me find a time,
a place, a way to hear
what it is You need to tell me.
I know You will speak to me.
I simply need Your help
to find the space and the quiet to hear
what You have to say.


—Sue Bradford Edwards, prayables.com



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