I love to have my family around me. There is no sweeter sound in the house than the voices and footsteps of those I love.
We live in a noisy world. Sounds are everywhere and are a normal part of our everyday lives. Sounds from people, traffic, social media, TV and music are whirling around us in a constant hum, and we just sing along.
Have you ever found yourself in a very quiet place?
I remember when we lived in the country and I had been to town to run errands. When I returned home late in the evening and I got out of the car …BAM!!!
I was slammed by the most silent silence I’d ever experienced. It caught me off guard. I could not hear a thing. No traffic or barking dogs in the distance and not even the slightest breeze to move anything. I stood there in awe. It seemed like the silence was a sound of it’s own. I waited for some kind of noise from a far off car, but there was absolutely nothing to hear….Peaceful.
Then years later I discovered when my teenagers were out of the house more often and my husband worked evenings, the house could be quiet for long periods of time. I surprised myself by not turning on the TV or music. The quietness was new to me and I was liking it. This has nothing to do with my family not being home. Those were the best hours of the day! I’m talking about the times when I was home alone in the quiet.
I found myself going for hours with no extra noise. TV off. Radio off. Music off. It wasn’t a complete quiet like my country evening experience years earlier, after all we now lived smack dab in the city, but inside the house I was in control of the noise level and I discovered there was so much waiting for me in the tranquility. Oh sweet silence, where have you been all my life?!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’d still have TV or music on sometimes, but I found myself not so quick to have electric devices on. Turning on the TV was no longer the first thing I did when I come home to an empty house.
I found out the world kept spinning without me being plugged into it every waking minute!
This new found quiet space was the perfect balance for my people and work centered life. While I went about doing the usual routine around the house in the quiet, I began to discover things I would have completely missed if any noise had been on. While I couldn’t escape the sounds of the city, I could control the noise in my space. My ears became very sharp and seemed to be on a journey of discovery for small, interesting acoustic sounds.
Here’s what happened.
In warm weather with the windows opened I discovered a song bird living close to the kitchen window. Sometimes I wondered if it was singing to me. I knew my life had been too loud for too long when even the ice cubes in my glass of lemonade clinking together as I stirred in more sugar, became a lovely sound to me! In the winter I’d hear our old house crack in the cold and the wind howl around our cozy abode. Later we moved up the street next to a wooded park farther from traffic where more interesting sounds surrounded our house. The sound of breaking branches once brought me to the window to find several male deer darting, chasing and snorting in some type of springtime mating challenge. It was like watching a documentary. Once the sound of noisy crows brought me to the backdoor where I saw a pair of eagles perched on a tree top. I even enjoyed the excited voices of the neighborhood kids as they built a fort in the empty lot next to our yard. So many things both big and small that would usually have been ignored.
I also found myself thinking through ideas. With no interruptions I could relish in sweet memories, examine life, plan the plans and toss out brain clutter. No loose strings dangling and tangling in the brain. Point A to point B. I believe it’s called ‘concentration’.
As an artist and musician, the flood gates of the creative dam burst open with new ideas. I was jotting down ideas that would land by the piano or in my studio. Ideas that didn’t come from someone else’s noise but my original thoughts and feelings.
I was more apt to pick up a book. Some books I’d owned for many years and never read. I re-read old favorites and passed on the ones I started but had no interest in finishing.
Spiritually, it was priceless….‘pray without ceasing’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16). With no noise to interrupt, it was easy to say a quick prayer now and then as people would come to mind. Nothing long and lofty. Just simple prayers. And, needless to say it’s easier to listen to God. ‘Be still and know that I am God’ (Psalms 46:10). I know praying and listening to God is possible in the midst of noise, but it seems easier in the quiet.
I hope you don’t picture a pinwheeled eyed woman in a dream-state floating around her house. Life was real and regular as I was simply doing what I’d ordinarily did, except now it was in the quiet.
Now days, times of solitude is part of my life. Unplugging from the world plugs me into other things.
I don’t live in a noise free zone, but more times than not, my space is quiet. This works for me. I’m an introvert to begin with, so for me periods of quiet is a natural and secure place for me. You may not think you need times of silence. For you it would be uncomfortable or awkward. But I suggest you just try it to see if it’s something that’s been missing in your life. Try silence for short periods of time. These days in our culture of fancy phones, social media, endless TV shows and music at our fingertips, unplugging from the world from time to time can be a huge positive in your life.
You may be in a situation where quiet is not even an option. Period. Living with others in close quarters or having kids means having little choice in controlling life’s volume. But kids nap or go to school. Like anything else, if you really want quiet, you will find it. It’s there more often then you think. Next time you find yourself alone, turn off electric noise and screens. Poof! There it is, the sweet silence. Take long walks without talking on the phone or listening to music for a 100% full proof way to steal some quiet time for yourself.
You might be someone who already practices solitude, then you know what I’m talking about!
I don’t live unplugged all the time! In fact, I’m now going to watch Andy Griffith reruns while I end the evening. Yes, for me silence is important but I do have ears to hear with, which I’m just as grateful for. I’m grateful for the choice. I’m grateful for the discovery of bliss in the quietness to ready me for the noise of life.
Pictured top of post: our old TV that slowly died, only to be replaced by a nice new flat screen. And cool shoe and pearls…just because.