“I said to myself, ‘Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” Psalm 116:7-8 -The Message-
A few years ago, our son, Drew moved to Chicago to get his first taste of being out on his own and to begin his career. Of course, Chicago was a big change of scenery from the small town where he grew up. Along with this decision of moving to Chicago, he wanted to be in the heartbeat of the city. Thus, locating an apartment in Wrigleville, refusing to take a car up and using nothing but public transportation and the two good feet that God gave him to walk/run.
On one of our first trips up to be with Drew and to help him finish up with his move, we were suddenly caught up in the sights and sounds of the city. Drew’s apartment was not too far from the El which meant you could hear the train running day and night. Not only could you hear the train running 24/7 but the noise of traffic, people yelling and whistling for a cab was constant. As much as it was fun, entertaining and fascinating, Jim and I would always look forward to retrieving to our quiet hotel room at the end of the day.
One of the must see on our bucket list for Chicago was the Chicago Art Institute. Jim and I both have always had an appreciation for all types of artwork. And, I knew that I would see up close some of the pieces that I had studied in history/art classes during my college days. Along with the mentioned reasons for going to the Art Institute, it is also the scene for one of the Hawkins’ favorite movies, Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.
Jim, Drew and I slowly strolled through the museum looking at paintings, sculptures and other displays. Drew would tell us about the artist, the story behind the piece of artwork and the time period of which it was created. As we stood and admired a piece of artwork, I commented to Drew how impressed I was in his knowledge for the pieces displayed in the museum and the artist. I went on to comment that he must have paid close attention in those art appreciation classes he had taken while in school. His reply was; ” yes, some of that I learned in school has come in handy but a lot of my knowledge has come from coming here to the Art Museum on the weekends.” “The city is so noisy that I have to get out of the noise to think, reflect and to enjoy the quiet.”
Noise. It is all around every single one of us. We are all surrounded by the noises of the television, radio, cell phones, chatter at work, traffic and this list goes on. Yesterday, the television had been on most of the day. Some of the time I did not even really know what was on or what was being talked about. It was simply noise in the background. Yet, late in the afternoon, it felt as though the sounds from the television were getting louder and louder. It was causing me to have a hard time to think and it was not helping the painful headache that I was trying to conquer at the time. So, I said to myself; “enough!” and turned the television off.
Ah, the sound of quiet! The simple sound of nothing was amazing. In this quiet, I began hearing the lyrics to the song “None but Jesus” speak to my heart. In this process of hearing this particular song go through my mind and touch my heart, I realized that God was wanting time with me.
Life gets noisy at times. These days, it seems noise prevails 24/7 just like the El train runs through Chicago. It is easy to get caught up in the noise. As we get caught up in the noise, we tend to learn to adjust and tune it out. The result of our adjusting to the noise and tuning it out is that we tune out something or should I say some things that are truly important. We can easily begin to tune out God and His voice and what He wants to say to us and our hearts. Not only do we tune out God’s voice speaking to us but we can miss the opportunity to talk to Him.
Along with tuning God out, missing opportunity to talk to God, we can easily miss the blessing God gives us every day when we get caught up in the noise. These opportunities include the sounds of children playing outside, the birds singing, just having a conversation with your spouse, family and/or friends. Other blessings that come from tuning out the noise, are that we can see what really matters most, recharge our batteries and experience God’s constant presence around us.
Jim’s mom and dad have a beautiful cabin by a lake. In years past, life has been so busy that we haven’t gotten to take advantage of it as we should. However, this year, Jim and I decided to change that record and get down there more. We have kept that commitment and it has been wonderful. One of the things that we like to do while we are at the lake is to go over to Mammoth Cave National Park and have dinner in their restaurant. After dinner, we like to stroll along one of the walking paths that takes you to an opening of one of the caves. We love to sit there in the quiet. and enjoy the cool air coming up out of the cave, people watch and simply enjoy the sounds of nature around us. Instead of getting caught up in the noise, we get caught up in the quiet.
Noise. Haven’t you had enough of it? My challenge for you today is to take at least a half an hour and turn off the television, the radio, the cell phone and anything else that makes noise and listen to the quiet. Ah, quiet…..what do you hear and who do you hear?