Of all the things our modern, electrically-powered society has
destroyed, none is so easily overlooked as "silence." A century
ago, a world without radios, televisions, CD players, pagers,
and cell phones provided numerous opportunities to be alone with
oneís thoughts. Today, we seem to fear silence, afraid of what we
might hear if we were forced to stop and listen to ourselves
Five weeks ago I began an experiment: I turned off the radio in
my truck for the entire month of January. No music, no news, no
talk. Just silence. And in that month of silence I came to love
those twenty or thirty minutes a day without noise.
At first it was hard. In fact for the first few days I felt so
unnerved by the silence that I found myself talking out loud,
even though I was the only one there. But even those one-sided
discussions usually focused on something I was worried about or
some idea I was trying to develop, so while I may have looked
strange talking to myself, the time was productive.
As the days passed, I came to enjoy the silence, since it
provided my one chance all day to simply sit and think. I have
never had much success praying while driving, but during these
days of stillness I definitely received insights I would not have
found otherwise. I think maybe I heard what Richard Foster
describes as "the divine Whisper" once or twice.
Despite His hectic schedule, Jesus often sought out solitude and
silence. His forty days in the wilderness ... just before
choosing the twelve ... after the feeding of the 5000 ...
following the healing of the leper ... before he faced the cross;
in each case, Jesus intentionally withdrew to spend time alone in
prayer, solitude, and silence.
Your car may be the one sanctuary on earth where you can
regularly experience silence. But even there, you must choose
silence over noise. It might be worth a month for you to give it
a try ó I got so much out of it that Iím going to continue
it for February.
Thereís a lot to hear in silence. Are you willing to listen?