One word. That’s all it took.
It didn’t matter what we were doing, dressed or undressed, shining this or aligning that or polishing something else or tucking this in. 60 young men instantly snapped upright into studied, drilled compliance to an order we all knew well.
Every veteran who’s reading this is chuckling to him- or herself right now, because you did what I just did: unconsciously sat a little straighter with your shoulders back. Thank you for that, by the way. I’ll do a better job of showing appreciation for your service another time. I really do admire you for it.
There was no noise when we were at attention. Ambient or otherwise, there was no continuation of a bad joke or finishing a hushed conversation. No humming or whistling. No gazing up and out the windows, no reaching out with a toe to nudge something a little straighter.
I believe we’ve been conditioned to forget how to offer it to one another. Don’t believe me? The next time you sit down to eat together, do this:
“Table rules: no electronic devices of any kind for any reason. We’re here to enjoy one another’s company over a fine meal and engage in real conversation. Every cell phone here takes very good messages. Let them. Please – if you haven’t already, put your phones on silent and leave them and all other players, devices, etc. across the room in your coats. We’ll wait to seat ourselves until you’re all back.”
Ooooh, you’ll get the stink-eye. You’ll get, “But you don’t understand – I’m expecting an important call” or “But I need to check the score . . .”.
There’ll be a thousand reasons why we are unable to be weaned from our hi-tech passies.
Which would you prefer:
- Someone screaming in your ear nonstop?
- Incessant, soft murmuring right in your ear?
I already know your answer: neither one. And for the same reason that we all blow our stacks at 17 commercials in a row, each one stepping on the previous one in haste to cram yet aNOTHER one in before the next 7 minutes of TV viewing. The only thing that saves our TVs is the price of replacing them.
The sons of Korah were some amazing young men. Some of them served David, being trained by him and becoming expert warriors. Army Rangers or Navy Seals of their day. They were also musicians and singers, and creative writers.
One of the sons of Korah wrote it: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psa. 46:10) Okay, wait. A musician and singer and a military guy is saying “Quiet yourself”? Like when are people like that EVer quiet?
More often than you’d think.
We’ve become so used to earbuds and headphones and Pandora and stereos and the tube and 24/7 news and talk radio and the nattering of Facebook and Twitter and . . . There’s something haywire when you nor I are any longer able to be unsounded, visually assaulted by a constant tsunami of information. Always having something aural pounding your eardrums, assailing your mind and disrupting your solitude.
Look into my eyes . . . you must never allow SILENCE.
The din of nonstop noise and chatter is pandemic, creating a dissonance of spirit that, if not stopped, will leave us bereft of the ability to do what one of Korah’s boys said was so important. Listen to it from The Message:
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your high God, above politics, above everything.”
Nobody’s going to make it stop; that’s up to you.
I call these posts Quiet Time Musings to remind myself to slow down each morning, breathe, and sit quietly with The Word, a notepad and pen.
“YoucoulddothatfasterwithaniPadbecause . . .”
God won’t say it because He’s a gentleman. The Sovereign Creator won’t jog along beside you, waiting for you to work Him in between meetings while you snarf half a bagel and slurp lukewarm mokalakathat.
But I will.
Shut up. Still your racing pulse. Quiet your spirit. Put all your high-tech toys down and walk away. What He has to speak into your life for today is more important than what you think. But if you don’t knock it off and slow it down you’ll never hear Him.
It would be effective if God were to suddenly appear and have Gabe shout,
“Tensh – HUH!”
That will happen one day, btw. But, see, that’s force of discipline. What God wants is the flow of love, freely moving back and forth between you and Him. That doesn’t happen in the constant bedlam normally surrounding you.
Western writer Louis L’Amour has always been a favorite of mine, as he was of my father. L’Amour wrote long years ago that, “One needs moments of quiet, moments of stillness, for both the inner and outer man, a moment of contemplation or even simple emptiness when the stress could ease away and a calmness enter the tissues.”
Isak Dinesen was the pen name of Karen Blixen. She wrote, “Where the storyteller is loyal, eternally and unswervingly loyal to the story, there, in the end, silence will speak.”
Ultimately, my story will always point to His. I always wish to be loyal to the Royal in me. And as you’ve noted in every fictional story I write, there’s always a tincture drop of Mysterious Other, the intent of which is to quiet you and bring you to that moment of stillness where silence can speak.
© D. Dean Boone, January 2015