The constant sound of doors opening and closing…seeing study groups in every study room and lounging area…the smell of fast food and cheap snacks…all of these have disappeared along with the last papers and finals of the semester. Many people have gone home for Christmas, while the rest are on their way or getting ready to leave soon. In the sudden silence bestowed upon my apartment building recently, a noise begins to rise that is practically impossible to keep quiet. What has happened to me over the last three weeks while under the avalanche of finals and papers? Greater yet, what has happened to me over the semester? Well, I could say that I have learned more…this is certainly true. I can even say that I have been able to apply both old and new information in life more frequently. However, am I simply doing what I think I need to do? What I should do? What I have to do? Do new routines and more creative techniques change who I am becoming, or are they just an addition to who I already am?
I ask myself these circular, possibly tedious questions because it is one of the only ways I keep track of my own progress. Spiritual progress, mental progress, emotional progress…sometimes I feel like straight answers are dead-ends which do not allow for further inquiry or discovery. I don’t ever want to close myself off from allowing Him to help me discover more about His purpose for me, which in turn will help me answer these questions about myself.
I wonder how people deal with silence, and if it really is peaceful for them. Perhaps the concept of silence is absolutely inexplicable to the majority of us because of our refusal to let it occur. Have you ever intentionally turned off your cell phone (not put on silent or vibrate), turned off the TV and/or stereo, unplugged the home phone line, turned off the computer, close every book and article…and just sat in utter, tangible disconnection? How would that feel? If you think it might be more frightening or intimidating than peaceful…you’re definitely not the only one.
In the silence I have been inundated with incredible amounts of reflection and pondering…most of which has led me to believe that I need to take better care to monitor my own growth and character-development. I see now why I flock to social gatherings and crowds of almost any sort…I don’t enjoy this “me” time as much as other people might. It is a time for me to take inventory of myself, and what I am doing to continue on a path that aligns with His in more aspects than I know what to do with. Living in the tension of life is something that I can pretend to do pretty easily, but I’m not as good as I used to be. Maybe that’s a good thing, but it’s the kind of good thing that is about as lovely as a shot in the rear I got from an angry nurse in a Daytona Beach ER four and a half years ago. Being exposed to shortcomings hurt and sting, but think of the pain you can help others watching or influenced by you avoid by addressing them. If you are a witness or example, shouldn’t you try and be your best? Don’t constantly dwell on the negative, but take constant care to reflect and re-focus your actions and intentions…or the harder it will be once you do face them.
You can respectfully fear the silence, but it is a necessary task to avoid letting a finger prick become a deep, infectious laceration. What is cognitive accruement without a heart and soul to be mindful of it? Am I still open to spiritual renewal and transformation? If I am not in control and fully capable, than who is? In the silence, when least expected, you may hear something loud. Bold. Powerful.
My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
– Proverbs 3:1-6
The bulldozer outside has become more like a lawnmower lately. I can deal with lawnmowers. Good night world.