Silence & Noise

"Silence is God's first language; everything else is a poor translation. In order to hear the language, we must learn to be still and to rest in God."
-- Thomas Keating in Invitation to Love read more at 

    One morning I had such a wonderful walk, there was hardly any noise coming from the town, everyone was probably still asleep. The dog and I climbed the hill and she ran free for a while, stopping to sniff here and there, and I didn’t even hear her foot-falls on the dry leaves, we were both moving in such stillness. But the world wasn’t totally silent, there were peaceful noises, like the morning bird calls, the woodpeckers looking for the first bug of the morning, knocking gently  on the trees, “Hello, good morning breakfast!”  What peace, what quiet, the language of God.
    That same afternoon it was so warm and beautiful that I decided to take another walk just to be out in the sunshine because it was too early to work in the garden. The neighbors were all out raking lawns, saying ‘hi, hello, beautiful day!’ We really hadn’t had such a beautiful warm day, so for the Adirondacks this was like the first day of spring. There were all kinds of noises -  barking dogs, the dogs wanted to be out too, enjoying the weather, sniffing, running, talking to each other. A car alarm went off and kept up an annoying buzz until a police car drove up and showed the owner how to shut the alarm off. There were more than twenty motorcycles outside Fast Track getting refreshments, revving their engines, as only motorcycles can do, there was traffic all around, motors, engines, leaf blowers, electric guitars playing music out on sidewalks - the noise was deafening. 
    My dog didn’t seem to mind, just kept walking along, but I found myself wishing for another quiet walk, another noiseless afternoon. But if we always had a noiseless afternoon there would be no reason for this town to be here - we are a tourist town and that’s how we make a living. People have different needs or levels of needs. I’m sure the motorcyclists love the noise of their engines - oh that gets to a Bruce Springsteen song - remember “Baby We Were Born to Run”? We are at different places in our lives, and excepting that is a learning experience. 
    As John Wilde put it so well in the blog above - we learn to take the silence that we’ve cultivated into the noise in order to find peace in situations that would normally drive us mad. We let the people who need the noise and excitement have it, and are glad for them. Really, I don’t think I’d like  peace and quiet all the time. The other night I went to a concert where my daughter was playing her French Horn in an orchestra - they were playing Handel’s Water Music - now that is some lively music. Probably the adults who heard Handel’s music for the first time were thinking, what is this world coming to? Why are the young so loud? 
    We have this song that says: “Listen in the silence, listen in the noise, listen to the sound of the Spirit’s voice.” So noise is a relative term - it is our perception of silence or noise that determines our reaction to it. Silence can be long, and uncomfortable, it can feel lonely, it can also bring us to an awareness of our need for wholeness. Noise can be joyful, singing in community is sometimes noisy, but also relationship building.  May you find peace and joy in the language of silence or in the language of noise.