Wednesday, January 4, 2012
white porcelain silence
If your house is like my house, you move at 100 mph from the minute your kids wake up until about the third time you've told them to go to sleep. My best moments of solace are found when I'm sitting on the toilet... although there's always the chance one of my kids will fight through that awkward scene in need of some attention. Each night before we send them to bed, we attempt to read something together, but we inevitably have to send half of them somewhere else due to the shortened attention spans of six children under the age of 9.
We tend to find comfort in noise. We need something to fill the air in the event that our thoughts get too loud. The busyness of life keeps us moving and feeling productive. If it's too quiet we turn on some music. When we don't like what we hear we turn on the television. Our kids reflect this. Any TV show that doesn't change scenes every 5 seconds is boring to them. They don't know how to play outside without begging for a break from mother nature to return to video gaming.
On a different night, I was explaining the importance of the Sabbath to our 8 & 9 year old daughters from a story in the Bible where Jesus healed a man. They told me they remembered the Sabbath because it's the day I lay on the couch and tell them we're not doing anything or else God will smite us. (It's true.)
I once asked a group of students what they think about when they're all alone with nothing to do sitting in the dark. Many of them said they could not remember the last time they were in that situation...and if they did they immediately turned a light on, put on some headphones and avoided the void. Some, however, responded profoundly about their thoughts about God, their own existence, their relationships and so we went on to discuss the significance of the two-way conversation between Creator and Created known as prayer.
Silence and solace aren't things we just wake up and choose to do for a few minutes... they're a discipline we practice. Sabbath was meant to be a weekly occurrence not so we could be unproductive but so we could remember and reflect. My family will probably never sit around in a circle, sing kum-bye-ya and pretend that we're then at peace with the world or anything. But, we will be intentional about embracing a silence that requires us to slow down, remember where we've been and know that God alone is God.