The Sound of Silence
- May 27, 2020
- Esther Followwill-Johnson
I’m 32 and adore Simon and Garfunkel, is that normal?
Probably not. Anyhow, music isn’t crucial to our topic but SILENCE is, and I want to consider this question:
How long can you stand actual silence?
Thanks to “shelter in place,” we have become regular walkers on creek paths near our home, daily passing dozens of other humans in their pursuit of outdoor activities.
But I’m surprised how often I pass by people who are blasting intense music on their phones while they stroll in this serene location.
I don’t personally find a shady creekside to inspire a desire for loud/yelling music, but that’s just me.
It’s not that weird maybe. But the last few times, I’ve felt a curiosity about what is really going on.
Why is it that when we are offered a moment of stillness we instantly need to fill it? During this pandemic, I hear lots of wonderful tips on how to be productive with this time. But are hours, and weeks rendered wasteful if they aren’t teeming with strategies, new hobbies, or deliverables that prove we have used the time wisely?
I feel that. I am myself training for a half marathon. I have picked my French podcast back up, and also learning to bake bread. (Ok, BEFORE I found out it was major craze, my Slovakian friend was teaching me on video chat. And from the result of my last two loaves, I’d need about 2 more months of quarantine to master this skill!)
Even for busy working mamas, it is easy to fill the extra time. But lately I’ve been wondering if COVID-19 is making people afraid to sit in the silence… Afraid of what thoughts might come up… Afraid of what excess time might reveal about our own thoughts and habits.
Because of this, I’ve tried to intentionally focus on being still. In nature. Present to my own thoughts. Present to the Holy Spirit to speak to me…
As a result, I have to confront some less-than-comfortable things in my heart. Not fun, but so good. And seeing my fellow walkers’ NEED to fill space and silence with SOUND, my interest has been piqued about how we work so hard to avoid discomfort. I know I do. But I want to be better about welcoming it.
Resist the temptation to fill the silence.
Don’t be afraid to sit alone with your thoughts and connect with how you feel and what is going on. Wouldn’t it be great to come out if this with more stillness, more peace and accomplishments?
Whatever your French podcast thing is, it will still be there after quarantine is over. Next time you have a spare hour, maybe just be still and see what happens.