Why You Need Silence

I had decisions to make. These were not easy decisions, like whether or not to eat lunch, or if I should ride my bike to the library. I needed to decide if I should let a girl in my class know that I liked her. I was just entering that time of life when I noticed that girls were different from boys.

Girlfriend stuff is tough to decide on.

I know, this is so NOT an adult problem.

Learn from Childhood Events

But, hear me out. Is it possible to learn adult things from childhood experiences? I certainly hope so. I’d hate to have to make a bunch of dumb adult mistakes to learn something I could have learned at twelve years of age. I think people who do that are referred to as immature by other adults who have their act together.

When I was living on the farm with my aunt and uncle, I had lots of time to think. Working several acres of garden takes time… alone. This was way before transistor radios, Walkman players, and all the gadgetry that is ubiquitous today.

After milking was done and cleaned up, I went out into the corn field and worked all morning, with a break only at lunch time. It was so quiet I could almost hear the corn growing. I learned to use the time for thinking and remembering. I learned to not be afraid of silence.

During my childhood I also discovered trees. Climbing trees. If there was a tree near, I could usually be found somewhere near the top, waving slightly in the breeze, looking at the world from above.

Magic in Silence

The magic in both of these experiences, I came to understand, was the silence. I liked silence. I gathered energy and enthusiasm from it. Energy to go back to work, enthusiasm to do the work well.

Many childhood decisions were made for me by my parents: which school I would attend; whether or not the teacher was the boss of me during school hours; if I would attend church, and which one; what time I would go to bed; if home chores were my job; even what books I could check out of the library.

My childhood was mapped out for me by may parents. As I grew older, they might ask for my input on some decisions.

Choosing a girlfriend was strictly my business. So, I climbed a tree to think. I had to also decide how I would let the lucky girl know she had been chosen. High in the tree, with only the breeze and bird calls for music, I could gather my thoughts and decide.

As an adult, I understand that many will identify me as an Introvert from these confessions. That’s okay.

I still seek silence and alone-time when I am writing and when I have decisions to make. I recommend it to you as a good thing.

I also discovered that silence can be found in noise. Silence can be an internal state.

The constant noise of the lawn mower creates a solitude for thinking. Many lesson plans and sermons originated from time behind a mower. Dreams sprang from the time. Reflection on the past day or week, as individual students were analyzed so I could do a better job of meeting his or her needs in the classroom.

Need Silence to Really Hear

Elijah needed to be reminded of a spiritual truth or two, so God sent him to a cave. At the entrance to the cave he experienced a tornado, a firestorm, and an earthquake. The record says, God was not in any of these. There might be a lesson in this as our weather gets crazier all the time.

At last, Elijah heard a still, small voice in the silence of the cave. It was God. Elijah recognized the voice and understood the message and mission he was to complete.

Amid the cacophony of today’s hectic pace, a still, small voice probably will go unheard.

Jesus recognized the wearing away of energy and enthusiasm among his disciples, and gathered them close to direct them: Come apart and rest awhile. Be in the stillness. Hear the voice of God, see His handiwork in nature. Reflect on His presence throughout your life.

What to do with the Sound of Silence? Seek it out. Make silence happen around you. Embrace it. Make it your friend. Feed on it and gain energy for the work you have to do.

Oh, and about the girlfriend decision. I asked my sister to call the Chosen One, then took the phone from her and said, “Don’t tell anyone that I like you!” Immediately, I was embarrassed, and passed the phone back to my sister. From then on I could not even speak to her at school, so the friendship didn’t blossom into girlfriend status. Lesson learned. Silence is better than sticking your foot in your mouth.


What are your experiences with silence. Which do you prefer, noise or silence? Comment below to share your thoughts with me.

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