I was driving home from dropping my sister off at school the other day, and unexpectedly, my music cut off. I was suddenly in silence, and this got me thinking.
I use a Bluetooth device to link my phone to my car’s speakers, and when this works, it’s great. Driving is one of the times I love listening to music: without studying this year, I’ve realised I’m listening to far less music. And actually, thinking back, I’m not sure I’ve ever driven in the car without music on. At least, not on my own for sure.
And while I was driving, listening steadily to the thrum of the engine, the occasional rev, and the cars driving past, I had to stop and think.
When was the last time I found silence?
When was the last time I chose silence? I was struck how little we’re ever in silence. Does ‘silence’ even exist in today’s world?
I’m not sure it happens often. I studied to music, there’s the continual chatter of everyday life, and even when those things stop, I’m pretty sure there’s always some other noise going on in the background.
Are we scared to turn off the noise?
In some ways, it’s almost like we’re scared to turn off the noise. As if silence is something to be feared, or to shy away from. And to some extent, I can understand that.
I can be scared that when all the other noise stops, I’m left with my own thoughts. There’s nothing else to distract me from the whirlwind that can be rampaging through my mind. And sometimes, that’s not somewhere I want to be. I almost think that if the noise keeps going, I can escape it. Or maybe, it doesn’t even exist.
Yet I feel like there’s a good kind of silence. I’m starting to discover a silence that is healthy. One that is sustaining. And ultimately, one that is God-focused.
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
1 Kings 19:11-12
It’s that ‘still small voice’ that I’m looking for. That can be found in the silence: if only we take the time to stop and listen. How? How do I intentionally look for silence? Look for the quiet?
By making that choice. It’s a weird choice to make – because the world we live in is a noisy one. There are sounds blaring and noises interrupting 24/7. But I think, that if we try hard enough, there may be somewhere quiet we can find.
Back in the car, and I’m surprised by the fact that part of me quite likes that silence. I wouldn’t have chosen it, but having it happen was actually a blessing. As I drove, I started talking, (not to myself, however much I do that in reality), but to God. Started having a conversation like He was in the passenger seat. It felt normal. And easy.
There’s quite a lot of verses that speak of finding God in the silence.
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”
And this is why that I’ve realised that however much I’ve decided that I want to, and need to slow down, I also need to be actively seeking to find silence too. I can’t help but feel that it’s in those moments – the ones where there’s nothing in the way, and all that’s left is honesty, openness and vulnerability: those are the moments that grow deeper relationships.
I’m choosing to actively seek silence.
Finding silence in a busy, noisy world may be difficult, but I’ve decided it’s worth the challenge. Is anyone up for joining me?