Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How About Silence?


I spent some time recently in a couple of waiting rooms.  Blaring away was the ubiquitous television.  One happened to be ‘The Price Is Right’ – annoying when watching, unbearable when used as a ‘background sound.’  In the other some nit-wit blabbered away while a camera was trained on the door of an airplane from which ‘Yo-Mamma Obama’ was supposed to appear at any moment.  As long as I could stand to look, nothing happened, and the voice stumbled around for time killing, thought mostly meaningless, words.

We live in a world full of constant media sounds.  Every restaurant must play music, often far too loudly.  Who just sits quietly any more?  It is a nearly lost art.

On the college campus many students walk around with ears always ‘budding’ and somewhere in there the mp3 player blasting.  Yesterday at the local grocery store the store manager was trying to tell the ‘cart collection’ boy something.  She had to shout while about two feet from him because his ear buds were in place and, apparently, his music was echoing around in his (empty?) head.  Help must be hard to get these days!

Even at church we suffer from this condition.  You might think Christians would at some point take to heart the admonition, “Let all the earth keep silence before Him!”  If we do, it’s not places I attend church.  There is always noise – on purpose.

We play music before the official ‘show’ begins.  Even during communion, we can’t just be quiet – we play ‘background’ music every and always.

I know this is not, perhaps, some great problem.  But I do often wonder why moderns cannot stand the sounds of silence – and I don’t mean the song by that title.  What goes on within us that we cannot tolerate being alone with our thoughts for even a short time?  Are we empty?  Do we hate what we find within?

I will now be silent so you can think about this for a while.  Try doing it without music playing.

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