These days I am often by myself at lunchtime--which is a novelty for me after 11 years of homeschooling, and the addition of the McKid to our lives. But she is in preschool, and the Zman often has class or other activities taking up his time. So, it's a new-ish kind of thing. I know, I know that we are supposed to "focus on enjoying our food and not distract ourselves with other things--eat mindfully!" but I can't help reading while I'm eating.
That was a long lead in to tell you why I happened to be reading the March 6th issue of Woman's Day magazine. The article that jumped out at me was "Quiet, Please! Finding Peace in a Surround Sound World", and the gist of the article was that the noise surrounding us, whether of our own choosing (MP3 players, radios, books on tape, tv, etc) or not (phones, other peoples conversations, other noises) are stressful to us, and keep us from thinking as well as we might. It also distracts us from any time at introspection.
So, it made me start thinking: when was my life ever quiet? Do I turn on "background noise" when I am home alone, or when my guys are sleeping and I'm up? How much noise is there in my life?
The answer? A LOT.
I know some of you with small kids are thinking, "Oh, please. I'm never going to have a silent moment for the next 18 years! Who is she kidding?" And I've been there! But I still think the question remains. Are there times when we could relish the quiet and have been so programmed with sound that we don't? Do we always exercise with the MP3 player glued in our ears? Do we work with the radio on? Do we read with the tv on in the background? Do we brush our teeth to the beat of talk radio? Do we surf the internet with the background of some internet music?
Where is the quiet? You surely can't get it at the grocery store, or in an elevator, or at the gym. Do your ears ever feel assaulted by all the sound?
If God speaks in a still, small voice, how will I ever hear him?
So, I did a radical thing. I turned off the radio while I ate my lunch, and opened my patio door and heard: birds chirping and squirrels chattering. A far off child's laugh, soft on the breeze. And silence.
And time stretched out a little.
Without the "every three minute change of song" on the radio, time wasn't measured the same way. Fifteen minutes of no added noise seemed much longer.
It's exactly like the nights we don't watch television. The time seems (blissfully) longer somehow.
Is there a place in your life you've been filling up with sound? Maybe you should see if you could empty it a little. I'm going to try again today.
I'll let you know.