Yesterday, I stayed in my office during lunch and ate a bowl of leftover chili I’d made. After I finished eating (which takes surprisingly little of a lunch hour, by the way), I decided to spend some time writing. I pulled out a favorite notebook and settled into the couch in my office and was still. While the words of a possible new beginning to my novel were flitting around in my head, my ears strained to hear a sound besides the hum of the printers and the buzz of the overhead light.
Beyond that background noise: silence.
That’s a rare sound on a college campus. Of course, it’s the first day back from break, and students have yet to return. Soon there will be the sounds of laughter and lectures, conversation and congregating. But today, there was silence.
Larry and I experienced the same silence when we were in a rain-soaked Rome the Monday after Christmas. We’d had lunch and were walking to Hobby Lobby when I told Larry to stop and listen. For several seconds, there, in what is usually a busy parking lot beside a heavily traveled road, we heard silence. Of course, it wasn’t long before a car roared by, but for that moment, the silence had been pure and unbroken.
Those moments made me wonder how rare it is to experience silence. Even as I write this sentence, a car just buzzed around the curve by our house. Of course, my fingers striking the keys tap a steady rhythm and — when did that creak develop in the wrist rest that’s attached to my keyboard? The hard drive in my computer just whirred as I was rereading what I wrote, and now an airplane is flying high overhead.
Today, though, the silence seemed to draw me in, to urge me into more stillness, more quiet. It became a holy moment as my mind turned from its own whirring to focus on the Creator, the God who Hears and Sees Me.
Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.” Habakkuk 2:20 says, “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.”
I think I must seek to find the silence and the stillness more often.