Often what we think is quiet, isn’t really all that quiet. Have you ever been in your house at a time that you thought was quiet when the electricity went out?
Suddenly you realize your house wasn’t really all that quiet. The refrigerator motor was running, the furnace or ac was blowing, the computer was humming.
The noise in the average home is 50 decibels. Compare that to the sound of rustling leaves in the distance at 10 decibels and a chainsaw running at 1 meter away at 110 decibels. (Table of Sound/Pressure Levels)
All that becomes white noise and we don’t notice it, until it all stops. Suddenly we’re experiencing real silence.
I live in town and like quiet time on my front porch – but it’s not really quiet because we live close to the highway and the hum of traffic is never ending.
A while back my kids and I stopped at an old, rural wayside complete with pit toilets. When we opened the van door, one of the kids announced, “It’s so quiet!”
We were actually struck by the silence. No distant traffic hum, no people talking – nothing. I was amazed that my kids were so affected by the silence.
Our world is noisier than we think.
When I was in my twenties I always had the tv on for company. I liked the noise and the constant companionship. I was uncomfortable with the quiet. Maybe because at that time I equated quiet with loneliness.
Now I’m the opposite. Unless there’s something specific I want to watch, the sound of the tv is extremely annoying and invasive.
We’re uncomfortable with silence. We don’t like our homes silent so we have the tv on for background noise to keep us company. We don’t like our time with others to be quiet because we feel we need to constantly chatter in order to connect. We like to constantly be with others – in real life or online- because we are afraid to be alone with our own thoughts.
Do you want to hear a sad truth? We’re uncomfortable with silence in church. How can that be? God even said, “Be still and know that I am God.” Yet, we’re uncomfortable if a silent moment in church last more than a few seconds.
You can feel it.
People start squirming, coughing, and clearing their throats. We want something to be happening. We’re comfortable with noise.
Our connection with God and gaining a deeper understanding of ourselves isn’t going to come from more tweets, texts, on demand tv or even mega church services with great music and awesome light shows.
It will come in the silence.
Not just external silence – but internal silence as well. A quiet mind – free of chatter and junk. The wisest of those who have come before us knew that silence was a necessity in knowing God and understanding life.
When all the noise is gone there is only God. ~Author Unknown
How do you feel about silence? Do you experience it enough?