"Who knows the beginning of the things which we CAN know? Theory! Theory! We chirp theories like chickadees because ignorance is a terrifying thing and we need the noise." -Walter Wangerin
This was posted on a friend's Facebook awhile back, and it really caught my attention. I am a person who used to HAVE to be surrounded by noise. Two things have always been extremely difficult for me to do: to be still, and to be quiet. (Ask my mom.) In fact, my mother got me a Precious Moments pin when I was probably 12 or so, and it said, “Slow me down, Lord!”
I used to hate quiet. Hate it. The silence literally hurt my ears. It was deafening! I grew up sleeping with a fan all summer because we lived in a house that didn’t have air conditioning. I got used to the noise. Now, I have my oxygen concentrator at night, and my compressor which sounds like a small, low-flying aircraft! I cannot sleep without noise. My poor husband! He loves the stillness…the absolute quiet of darkness.
When I still lived with my folks, I remember coming home late in the evening, and finding my mom sitting in the living room, by herself, in the half-dark, no radio or TV on, nothing. She was just sitting there. She wasn’t even looking at a magazine or reading a book! I used to think she was crazy. Then I had a child!
Before I got sick, I had to fill every atom of space around me with something: noise, music, work, play, fun, people. I was so afraid of the silence and what it might bring; that I would have to own up to some inappropriate behavior or that I would have to admit that I didn't know it all or have it all, that I couldn't DO it all. It was through all that noise that I lost the ability to hear the whispering of my Lord.
11 Then He [God] said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces 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; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” I Kings 19:11-13 NKJV
I LOVE this Scripture. I remember the first time I read it; it made SO much sense to me! I had not been hearing that “still small voice” because I had been listening to the wind, and the earthquakes, and the fires.
Thankfully, I did get sick, and being sick forced me to slow down and be quiet. And once again I began to hear that still, small voice of God. I think part of appreciating the silence is not being afraid of it. "We chirp theories like chickadees because ignorance is a terrifying thing and we need the noise." If we're trying to figure everything out we don't have to live with the unknown, because the unknown is terrifying.
If we're talking and moving and doing, if we’re focused on the wind and the earthquake and the fires in our lives, we’ll never be able to hear what God is trying to say. Because many times, God isn’t in the loud, dramatic things. He’s in the caress of a gentle breeze. He’s in the touch of a newborn’s cheek to our own. He’s in a whispered “I love you”, as you watch your child fall asleep.
So today I challenge you to be quiet. To embrace the silence. To put aside the theories. To stop trying to solve the world's problems... or even your own. And just listen for that still small voice. Put down the remote, turn off the computer, take a deep breath, and Just. Be. Still.