One early morning this past week, I sat down to read some scripture and found myself bombarded with noise. It was self-induced and I desired it more than quietness.
The noise was comforting. It created a layer between what I was reading and my soul’s desire to listen.
What does comforting noise look like?
- thoughts of what lay in store for today
- worrying over customer projects
- refilling that coffee mug
- checking email while reading or while someone is speaking
- looking up at the lights
- reading a verse and immediately thinking of application or how it might make for a great article
- anticipating the joy of checking something off
- glancing at the clock
- applying my own filter to what I’m reading
- glancing at my calendar while wrapping up a chapter
- coming immediately to God with needs
- following a bunny trail of links
- reading instead of praying
- notification sounds of emails coming in
- the blinking light on a BlackBerry
- twittering or facebooking something you just read
- seeking the companionship of an iPad rather than solitude
- texting while at the red light
- listening in one ear while someone is talking, while also browsing or typing
That kind of noise is comforting because it allows us to interact on our terms, without commitment, applying our own unconscious filter. It allows us to communicate without listening. It keeps us in the safe zone. It fills our desire to be needed and productive.
We were not made for that, though.
Real communication is found in quietness, when we desire to silence the noise so we can truly hear what the other person is saying. It is a very difficult place to get to and our flesh will fight it. Once we begin to desire silence over noise, though, we’ll finally be on our way to being wherever we are.