Thursday, June 19, 2008

silence

I'm finding that I need silence more and more. I'm afraid my life was too full of wall to wall noise, in my past.

For years I either had music on, or was listening to the Bible being read on recordings. Alot of good stuff, but constant noise. I know of times if my wife wasn't home, I'd even have noise on at night as I was going to sleep.

That did change over the years as I became a person of alot less noise, yet relatively still more than was perhaps healthy. Now "noise" for me can include too much reading, though reading more meditatively, especially Scripture, in silence I think doesn't necessarily count as noise.

But I find that more and more I value silence. It makes me more keen for when I do read or listen to something. And in the silence I often get the sense of God which I need. I get a sense of trying to listen to God, draw near to him, and pray.

I need to listen, be still, and wait on God. In the silence, in the stillness, while in the word of God, or in a good book. This seems important to me, and maybe it's just a needed escape from the noisy culture in which we live, good at drowning out what we most need to hear.

What do you think about silence? Do you like it? Why or why not?

12 comments:

Mike said...

Thanks for this post Ted. Silence is something I really struggle with. I can identify with having noise just to have noise.

Silence is uncomfortable, strange, a tremendous effort. It seems we equate noise in our society with that of busyness/importance.

I have a long way to go. Thanks for the reminder.

Craver Vii said...

Usually, I thrive on interaction with people, but there are times, especially when I'm driving, that I would rather not have any auditory input. I leave the radio off, and it's just God and me.

preacherman said...

Ted I have 3 young boys, a wife and a phone that rings the same number at the church and house. Silence is few and far between. I thought I would get some silence while the boys and mom are away the grandparents. I was wrong...They just started jack-hammering outside of our house for road construction. So I hear tucks backing up. The jackhammer. Workers cussing and yelling. They have rerouted hwy traffic in the front of my house. So on top of all the other noise I hear big riggs and desil trucks running all the time. Silence!!!!!! What is it? :-(

NaNcY said...

i like is sometimes.
and it can be hard to find at times.
even at the library...but, if one is very creative!!!
like craver, a drive in the car...especially on a less traveled road. too, bad about preacherman, he is gonna have to be very creative! cemeteries are usually very quiet. in my car in the garage is usually nice in the summer time...or my basement. sometimes if i park in a lot of a playground on a rainy day...quiet.

yes, there are times when i really like a bit of silence...but, i usually end up making noise to God.

Rachel Mc said...

True story: When my son, Colin, was around 3 he exhibited signs of autism. One sign was that he never paid attention to the world around him. I was convinced he had a hearing problem, and between 3 yrs and 5 yrs I had his hearing tested 4 times and all tests came out normal. His speech developed pretty unusual - it was like he spoke his own language with some sounds kinda sounding like words. Again, I was told he had autism. He tried to communicate with the world all the time and would be very frustrated that no one understood him. When he was in kindergarden I heard of an audiologist who not only tested if kids could hear, but tested for what they could hear. He went in, had the test, and was diagnosed with hyperacusis. The audiologist told me he could hear to negative ten decibels. I thought that meant he couldn't hear - she explained he hears too well, picks up high frequencies like a dog, and always hears echoes - noise- he never heard silence. She recommended musicians ear plugs that filtered out 30 decibels..and he started talking and was no longer frustrated or scared etc. I think of his years lost - birth to 5, and how I couldn't find someone to help me understand him. To talk to him now he remembers the world "always being turned on" and how it always gave him a headache. Everyone needs silence and sometimes we have to help other people find their moment of silence or their place of silence.

preacherman said...

Rachel,
I was brought to tears over your story. Powerful and moving because we have a son named Collin who is 5 years old but we had him test for autism but just found out that the result were negative. He had problem hearing when he was younger and it effected some things. He is so precious and loving. I want to thank you Rachel for your story. Thank you....

Ted M. Gossard said...

Mike,
Of course as I said on this post, I know what you mean. But it seems like the older I get, the more I value silence because I realize more and more I need it for God to get through to me- and prolonged at times, at that!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Craver,
Well, I got a car that finally had a CD player so I played music or The Bible Experience on it for awhile, then tuned back to my habit of listening to NPR (this will probably all go awry, since I'm just beginning to car pool to work with a neighbor lady), but especially when I feel up against it, spiritually, I want no noise. But even aside from that I kind of enjoy that.

I'm a people person as well, but I find those times when I just want silence more than anything else. Kind of going through that now, with just intermittent periods of voluntary noise on.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Wow, Kinney. That's noise! Of course you didn't turn it on yourself. But how to escape! Sorry to hear that. Sometimes no escape in our society. Hopefully one can learn to meditate on Scripture, or just seek God in Scripture and prayer over the noisy din. Just setting oneself to do that in spite of all the trouble surely has alot of value in God's eyes!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Wow, Rachel. Glad you were able to get to the bottom of that. Quite interesting. Wonderful that Colin got the help he needs. Amazing to think of the constant banging of airwaves he must have encountered during that time, as well as the difference it made when that was resolved!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Kinney,
Glad to hear that Collin does not have autism.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Sorry. Somehow I skipped past your comment, and didn't see your name in the process of doing that!

In you naming places where we can have silence, this reminds me of a spiritual renewal movement called DeColores, in our area, in which on my weekend retreat, there was imposed upon us complete silence for around 12 hours straight.

That was a most powerful time for me, as the Lord seemed to speak very plainly to me, and I seemed very much touched in my spirit. It was imposed on me, and I had no choice but to obey, if I was to participate.

But good when we impose that on ourselves, as well. It is hard to get the interference aside, quite often, so we can really begin to seek to hear God's voice.