We had a power outage last week that lasted just under an hour. It was evening, and in a split second, lights, video games, music, and all other noise came to a screeching halt. I knew my eleven-year-old would be startled, at the least. So I grabbed my phone and slid up the handy-dandy flashlight feature that the techies made so easy to find in just such an emergency. I bounded up the stairs, speaking consoling words, telling my son that everything was ok. He was freaking out just a bit.
Within a few minutes, he had retrieved a small flashlight from his room and had turned on a small transistor radio. I couldn’t believe it! The music sounded so loud in that quiet space. I was rushing around finding candles to light for upstairs and down, and I wasn’t really concerned about the radio. But my older son had just gotten home from a long day at work, and he was not happy to hear the squawking coming from that transistor. He told his brother to shut it off because he needed the silence after his hectic day.
After just a dozen or so minutes, my younger son was bored. Without his electronic gadgets, he wasn’t sure what to do. So we found his LEGOs, and I had him come downstairs with me so my older son could have some peace and quiet.
I hadn’t really thought about it much until the power outage’s sudden reminder. There is very little time in my life where I simply hear silence. Even if there is no music or TV in the background, the refrigerator and heater make humming sounds. The dishwasher has its repertoire. Even when driving without added noise from the radio, the thumpity-thumps and clickity-clacks of driving over uneven payment pay their dues. The whoosh of cars going faster slide right by.
But to seek the silence can feel life-giving.
I read a quote from Mother Teresa that has furthered my thoughts on the value of silence. She said, “The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace.” And isn’t that what we all long for during the busy seasons of our lives?
I’m not finished exploring this newfound thought process. In fact, I have a feeling this will be a new pursuit: to carve out time without manufactured sounds in order to hear more clearly. In the quiet it is truly easier for me to think about prayer and to long to hear the whispers of God to my soul.
Sometimes I struggle with quiet. I am a go-getter kind of gal. I like to be moving and interacting, always busy with some pursuit. Even in my set-apart, God-seeking intermissions, sometimes I allow the noise of life to crowd out what God might want to do or say in my life.
Hearing God is absolutely possible in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. But how much clearer can we listen in the quiet? It is a quest that I have begun to undertake.
One way or another – in silence or not – Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” I love that reassurance.