They—whoever “they” really are—say silence is golden. I beg to differ. My best writing occurs when iTunes serenades me. My most productive workouts happen in a loud, crowded gym. And my most peaceful slumber takes place when a loud fan blows near me. Get rid of any of these noises, and, well, the silence is simply deafening.
Clearly, I’ve succumbed to the always-on, always-on-the-go world. I’ve had a cell phone, iPod, or laptop in my hand longer than I have not, and when silence surrounds, it usually means one of these things isn’t working. And that’s a problem. A real problem.
But on a recent road trip, I decided to see if I could figure out what “they” were talking about. For as long as I could last, I drove in complete silence. Luckily, the surrounding landscape wasn’t Kansas, and my mind was preoccupied with taking it all in. That lasted five minutes. A tree is a tree is a tree.
I moved on to updating my mental to-do list. Fifty to-dos later, with an anxiety level so high it took all my power not to steer the car into one of those said trees, it was time to move on to something else.
What to do next… I knew all along what I should be doing in this silence, what I hear is best done when it’s quiet, but more often than not, my attempts at prayer—real, intense, thoughtful, “let’s talk God” prayer—have failed miserably. Uncontrollable laughter or that ominous mental do-list list always seem to block my path.
Practice makes perfect?
It started off slow. I relied on the oldies but goodies to get me going, but eventually I shied away from the rehearsed lines and found my own voice. This time, my own thoughts, questions, fears, concerns, wonders—you name it—filled the void.
It might have been silent in my car, but God and I had quite the conversation.
I’ll admit, I didn’t make it the entire trip in silence. A good conversation can only last so long, and eventually I was back to my tunes and texts. But for at least a little while, I saw silence’s golden sheen.
And in it, I heard God speaking to me the loudest.