In my classroom, I was often asked "Teacher, what kind of music do you listen too?" Before I could answer, they would usually throw out some guesses. My usual answer was "Silence." I would usually get strange looks from my high school math students. But, they also did not have much to say about it and some would even understand why I preferred silence. My students were listening to all sorts of music, and much of it was not something I wanted to hear in my classroom. I was wary of anyone wanting to play their music for us all to hear. When on a school campus, one must be sure that the lyrics were "clean", and many adolescents listened to songs that were questionable, to say the least. (Hey, I was a teenager once, too!) Every once in a while I would try to play some Mozart in the classroom, but my students complained too much or asked to listen to their own devices. The theory that listening to the music of Mozart made people smarter (The Mozart Effect) , was never really tested in any of my classes because I gave up on it too early. I preferred NO MUSIC to anyone else's playlists. On my commute home, I would often keep the radio off and enjoy the 35 minute drive, even in traffic.
I no longer work in a noisy, chaotic environment. Sometimes the church office is busy, but not the way it was at school. I do not often have 36 people at my desk, talking to me at one time about 36 different issues. Although I work mainly by myself at work, when I am in my home, chaos returns. There are four little people who demand my attention and care, and often a tall (and devastatingly handsome) one who demands my attention too. I am blessed to have my family who loves me so much, and a job that I enjoy doing, but I sometimes wish that I did not have to do so much. I know there are many who have far more stresses than I do. My children are overall healthy and happy, and so am I. I do not want anyone to think I am complaining about my life, even though I think I am as I write this...
Back to what I was saying about SILENCE. Yes, I think I just yelled the word that can be both deafening and calming. When there is constant noise in the background, people needing attention, and other distractions around, I usually have a hard time focusing on what is important. (Just getting this blog post completed is taking much longer than it should.) Most people probably have a hard time focusing in a noisy place too. When someone needs to concentrate, he or she may leave a bustling location or even ask others to "keep it down".
What is more important than the things around me are quiet is that I stay quiet myself. I do not have to constantly be talking. Listening is more important than talking. Someone once told me that God made us with two ears and only one mouth because listening was more important than speaking. There is a time for everything, according to the author of Ecclesiastes. Here is an excerpt from Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 (ESV)
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
I need to be quiet if I want to know God. I can ask questions, but I also need to be patient with the answers. Spending time with God in prayer, but also in meditation, is important. I hope that you can spend more time with God in silence. He provides it! What is God telling you? The next time you are by yourself on a long drive, try keeping the radio off for a while. Ask God some of those burning questions you have, such as "What do you want from me?", "Am I doing the right thing?", "How am I worthy of your love?"