Is Your Life Too Loud?
Is Your Life Too Loud?
Mine is. My husband and I are both professional musicians. We are music teachers and we have many children. We are blessed to have beautiful music and the frequent (but not always delightful) sounds of young life surrounding us. And while I truly believe that actively listening to music, people, and the world around us is one of the most important things we can do, sometimes all of it is just a little too much.
There is much to hear, but too little listening.
One of the reasons our modern society communicates so poorly is because of a lack of refined listening skills. When someone asks a question, it is almost never customary to take a moment to contemplate the query and develop a response. Even our music has been engineered to entertain, not to elicit thought.
Instead of cultivating a respect for and understanding of how we listen to each other and the world around us, there is an ever-mounting emphasis on simply what we are hearing, how we internalize it, and how (and how quickly) we react.
Don’t get me wrong, what we are listening to is important, but focusing on the what makes us reactionary people, which in turn makes for an increasingly loud and cacophonous world. One that we are all trying to escape from in order to find peace, tranquility and, yes, quiet.
We often seek an escape from the noise in our phones, physical activities, shopping, watching TV, and even spending time with friends. But if we really look at how that time is spent; we see that this “quiet” time is also loud. Even if our phone volumes are turned down or we are on a walk, we are usually still plugged in to the loud noise of society, hearing the bustling noise of cars, planes, trains and city life, bombarded by background music and worst of all, our own thoughts. We seek quiet time to take our minds off of what really bothers us in order to relax, regroup, and then take up those struggles again. But because we don’t fix anything during times of “rest”, we continue to need a loud enough environment to pretend that our problems don’t exist. At least for a while.
Let’s face it. Most of us are stressed, depressed, angry, or sad. Maybe not all of the time, but more often than we care to be. And while no one ever said life would be easy, I don’t think it should be a continuous, daily struggle to find reprieve. So, what if (and yes, a music teacher is saying this) instead of putting on headphones and sitting at a computer or instead of binge-watching our favorite show or instead of going out to dinner with our spouse, we just sit quietly? In silence. Or as close to it as we can get.
You may be thinking there is no way for you to do that because you live in a big city and cannot get away to the country, or go on a retreat, and your home is filled with children and work is filled with responsibilities. But maybe we all can try to take it down a notch. Instead of listening to music in the car with the kids on the way home from school, roll down the windows and talk about what you see. Instead of folding clothes with your favorite music playing, do it silently.
What if we don’t wait in the grocery line humming our favorite song? What if we just stop and listen and don’t respond? What if we just be. By ourselves, with each other and with the Lord in this beautiful world He has given us.
Maybe then we can find some peace and quiet.