It was 1945. Mother just suggested that I paint a mural (my first) on the bedroom wall corner upstairs. As I readied what I would need left over paint in the garage, paint brushes and then I knew I needed the radio. Listening to the radio was a necessity when I was sixteen. I loved the songs popular in that era – “Sentimental Journey”, “Til the End of Time”, “Don’t Fence Me In”, “Laura”, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, “Accentuate the Positive” and “My Dreams Are Getting Better All The Time” were my favorites then.
Frank Sinatra was singing his heart out and I was singing with him…..when Mother came to ask me to turn down the radio’s volume down, and why did I listen to Frank Sinatra? Little did I know then that I would repeat this same scene with my children twenty years later. Frank Sinatra wasn’t singing, but the Beatles were.
Mother often talked to me about the treasure of silence, since I seemed prone to surround my self with sound, before surround sound was even a thought. Silence is truly golden – a cliche of truth. As I sit in my home I hear the sound the humidifier, the refrigerator, the a/c or heater, depending on the season, the television, a truck outside, the neighbor’s lawnmower in the summer, children playing, the washing machine and dryer. So far we have no succumbed to the ipod or hi-fi – although on command the computer can pour forth sound. Power-hungry machines made to help people live easier, but where is the healing silence? The constant ‘connection’ through cell phones create more beeps, music and various sounds.
Twenty-four hour news stations can depress anyone with a yen to listen. It seems that the more we listen to frenetic music and noise-filled environment, the more frantically mobile we are, as we criss-cross our section of the earth. I have always wondered if the vibration of voices of all the ages fill the universe – the gentle voices expressing love, hope, encouragement and kindness. Or perhaps the caustic voices that express hate, lust, turmoil and anger echo through space.
Last Sunday, Kevin gave a communion meditation. He stood in place before the podium. I glanced down at the next song I would play, but then looked up because Kevin had not yet begun. He stood silently for 30 seconds that seemed much longer. Thirty seconds…..of complete silence….before he began speaking. “Be still and know that I am God.”
The Symphony of Creation was created and orchestrated by our Yahweh Lord. When David wrote in the 23rd Psalm, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake,“ he knew the power of the Symphony of Creation. The thunder of storms rumbling in the distance, the call of birds on the wing, the ripple of water traveling in its banks, the animal sounds about us create a sense of peace that silences the cries of our heart.
The ‘rests’ in the Symphony of Creation speak to our souls. The rise and fall of the sun with the precision of a metronome, bright moonlight in a velvet sky, the stars that mark the skies with bits of light are all ‘rests’ in the creation. Who has not photographed a glorious sunset or sunrise with awe at the beauty? Who has not stopped to gaze upon the brilliant Evening Star in wonder? Men spend their lives photographing God’s creation beyond world deep in the universe. How delighted we are when the ‘rest’ is seeing the opening of a rose or even a tiny yellow wild flower or the fruit given to a tree.
A quote by Mother Teresa says – “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
The Giver of Salvation, The Author of Peace gives us words to follow in our lives. Words that are a balm to our souls:
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. I Timothy 2:1-2
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.