It usually happens in midsummer.
That’s when sensory overload forces me to withdraw.
The blare of TV, ringing phones, pounding keyboards, car horns, barking dogs and the ambient noise of senseless chatter begin to scream at me.
Then the opportunity presents itself: a day off from the office, a lunch date cancellation, the postponement of a writing deadline.
Immersed in quiet, I realize how starved I am for soundlessness.
“The noise of the world is preventing us from hearing the gentle voice within that always counsels us,” writes Matthew Kelly in “The Rhythm of Life.” “We will begin to hear this voice again only when we make a habit of withdrawing from the noise of the world and immersing ourselves in silence.”
Those who regularly lock themselves away from the deafening noise around us know that silence is not the absence of sound but the opening of a gate in the mind that is slammed shut most of the time. This portal leads to a place where chatter ceases and ambient sounds fade. Here, we satisfy the holy longing.
One of my favorite biblical passages is when God told the prophet Elijah to go outside and stand on the mountain because He would be passing by. (1 Kings 19:11-12)
“A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord – but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake – the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire – but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a still small voice.”
Like Elijah we listen, longing to recognize the presence of the Divine. We yearn for God to hear our prayers and pleas for help, but first, we must enter the silence.
I think that God speaks to us in this way, even though He sometimes wants to shake the ground under our feet and thunder, “Stop the busyness and listen! I am here...”
But instead He whispers and offers us an invitation. When we accept and give Him our undivided attention, we have an audience with our Creator, who knows us better than we know ourselves.