Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

11.20.2009

Noise Addiction

I was around twelve—the oldest sister of six kids, with the youngest boy just born. My twelve year old cousin was over, and she, Mikaela, and I were playing with gusto. It was a wonderful time, but right in the middle of our latest game, my cousin, an only child, piped up to say something, and I had the impression that she had been deliberating on this comment for most of the evening. “Doesn’t that noise bother you?” she asked. Mikaela and I looked at each other, opened our ears, and realized that our younger siblings were also playing with great gusto in the office right outside of our bedroom. Only their gusto was more like uproarious giggles, simultaneous shouts of delight over their game, and banging away at our toy piano. All at the same time. I hadn’t noticed.

Fast-forward to a few days ago. This has been the gold standard of hectic weeks (as evidenced by this 3:30 post), and my time to do school has been short and precious. I sat down to concentrate and turned on some (Christmas!) music in the background while I worked. It was a few minutes later before I realized that I was getting distracted from the work at hand with the exuberant music playing in my ear. Why exactly was I trying so hard to multitask? So I turned the music off and listened to the silence.
This is what I heard: in our house, silence is rare. Inside, every door is a swinging one, and noise abounds. Even if you go outside, there is always a rooster crowing or a tree cracking or a lawnmower roaring. To me, these sounds are beautiful, but there are other sounds that aren’t quite so lovely. A bird’s-eye view of our society in general reveals that we are almost addicted to noise. We can't go for an hour without turning on the radio, the TV, the headphones, the sound effects—we are surrounded by noise and sound! I’m not talking about the kind of lovely noise that bothered my cousin but the noise of all this entertainment--noise pollution.
All of this “artificial” noise is as detrimental as going without sleep, because it occupies our heads with peripheral things when we should really be using the time to meditate and communicate with God. Headphones, roosters, idle chatter, roosters, (-: and television are huge inhibitors to deep, meaningful time with God. The great men of Scripture? How often did they put in their 8-track tapes when they were bouncing down the road on a camel? I can verify they never did—instead, I imagine them talking with God as they trekked between towns.
Scripture speaks often of the importance of silence. Ecclesiastes 3:7b says, “A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” Habbakuk 2:20 offers an even more compelling picture: “But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” I Timothy 4:15 promises that whatever sacrifice we make in order to have this time with God is worth it: “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” So turn off the radio in the car—talk to God. Turn off the phone—talk to God. Take out the headphones—talk to God. Your soul will thank you.
Another benefit? When we take the time to realize the beauty of silence we can once again appreciate the beauty of sound. Today I am going to revel in silence, and a week from today I’m going to equally enjoy the sound of nineteen people in the house. We’ll have glasses clinking, laughter to the rooftop, and lots of conversation—talking about God.


Picture from http://www.freewebs.com/soundwaves-/rockwool_solutions_to_noise.jpg

12 comments:

  1. I was thinking about this same exact topic the other day. I, personally, love the sound of my family - laughing, singing, talking... The other day I watched an episode from an old TV show - it was a comedy, but still made me think - about a guy who invented a "silence machine" and who wanted to make the world a silent place. He would whisper when he talked (so that he wouldn't make much noise) and do the oddest things - to make the world quiet. I thought about that, and just for some reason, I could never live without the noises around me! It would be...lonesome! :) But, you're right...how much time of the music playing, earphones, etc. could we be using instead to worship God?

    Wonderful post, Lauren!
    Love and miss you both.
    Blessings,
    ~Miss Raquel

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  2. Hmmm...thank you for the good post, Mikaela. It goes along well with a video I watched last night of Joshua Harris, preaching about using self-conrol in our wired world. His brothers posted it at www.therebelution.org.
    Thank you for the good insights! :)

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  3. It really is amazing how much more you consider, weigh, understand, and talk with God when there is complete silence - and it's beautiful! Last year, after being encouraged by our WV teacher, I did a month-long "music fast". I didn't listen to music at home (when I could help it) or in the car while driving. Instead, I found myself meditating on the Scripture I was memorizing and analyzing my convictions and the "whys" more thoroughly - and the fulfillment that came from taking that "noise" time and converting it to time with God was so...amazing. Eliminating “artificial noise” is shockingly hard at first, but it is certainly eye-opening to realize how much mental time we waste on it! Thanks for the post, my dear friend. I’m definitely going to once more make it a priority to be silent before God!

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  4. Funny you should write about this today! I just got home from babysitting. Long story short, I was supposed to be babysitting for some people from around 5pm until after midnight. With only two little ones to keep (who would be going down around 8pm) and a small house that would be whipped into shape within an hour, I knew that I'd have some serious time on my hands. So, I packed a book and my ipod. Once everything was done and the boys were sound asleep, I cracked open my book and then thought, "Oh, I brought my ipod.....No, I think the silence will suit me just fine!". Let me tell you, it DID.

    Like you, I am around noise soooo much, I find myself "addicted" to it. Sure, I enjoy peace and quiet if it happens to come, but I almost never seek it.

    With your reminder, I think I will!

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  5. I love this discussion and all these ideas for how I can continue to implement this in my life!
    Raquel--that sounds like quite a thought-provoking tv episode!
    Ruthie--I'm Lauren (-: but I definitely want to investigate Joshua Harris's sermons on this topic-I've been hearing a lot about them everywhere!
    Sarah--a music fast is an interesting idea! As we all agree, music can glorify God, but it must be in balance, and "fasting" from it for awhile would be difficult, but probably quite productive! It's quite encouraging to hear your results from that commitment!
    Victoria--that is so funny! When I'm babysitting at night and the house is silent, it is usually quite strange for me because it is so different from what I'm used to. But it's delicious too! (-: Here's to seeking quiet!

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  6. This topic is something that I have thought about, but never really sat down and expressed in concrete words as you have done. Thank you so much! I have often wondered, perhaps more than usual lately, how in this technologically advanced world in which we live, we seem to lose so much time. Yes, way back in the "old days" clothes had to be washed without a washing machine, dishes done without a dishwasher, clothes ironed without an electric iron, socks mended by hand instead of taking a trip to Wal-Mart for the next bundle of socks, the list goes on and on. Yet despite their lack of machinery they seemed to have more time. Time to sit and visit with each other in the evening after work was done (Little House on the Prairie with Pa and his fiddle come to mind), women would get together and visit over quilting, or daughters would get quality time with their mothers over canning and shucking peas. What has happened today in a world where everything is so "time effective" to take our time away?

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  7. Oh, dear, so sorry Lauren! I'll chalk it up to old age and senility. ; ) A good post, nonetheless.

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  8. Charae--such good thoughts! Yes I think they were a lot more time-efficient in the old days. I love how they would get together and simply play music--today we think of music as more performance-based rather than enjoyment-based. Also, I think they were a lot less focused on "getting ahead" and "making it big"--they were simply focused on surviving! So they could set aside time for priorities.
    Ruthie--don't worry about it! I just had to rib you a little! (-: I'm still trying to figure out how to pronounce senility though...

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  9. It's pronounced si-nil-i-tee (emphasis on the "nil." It means: "The state of being senile, esp. the weakness or mental infirmity of old age." ; ) (From dictionary.com)

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  10. I'm not sure if you have ever heard of the Nooma video's, but there is one in particular titled "Noise". It talks about this topic exactly.

    Also, I went on a missions trip to Panama in 2006. One of the things that God taught me is silence. Often times when I spend time with God, I talk. Yet, he taught me that, spending time with God does not necessitate conversation. Both God and I can be utterly silent, and yet at the same time, be spending quality time together. This concept was new to me in 2006 and remains a peculiar concept in 2009.

    We humans, as you have said, are addicted to noise.

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  11. I'll have to investigate the Nooma videos--I've never heard of them. And what a wonderful lesson to learn on a mission trip! Oftentimes when we are silent, God can speak to us better, or He can simply hold us with His love. Thanks Tyler!

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  12. Hi Lauren,
    I just wanted to let you know that I awarded
    you on my blog.

    ~Abigail~

    ReplyDelete

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