Today I was driving and couldn't figure out what I want to listen to. Typically I'll pop on a good podcast like On Being with Krista Tippet or NPR's Ted Radio Hour. Sometimes I'll venture over to Pandora and listen to some music. This morning I found myself not knowing what I want to listen to. It felt like my head was already full.
It got me thinking about the walk I took last night. I had a similar experience. Walking in the cool air without headphones I noticed the sound of my breath, the sound of the wind, the sound of the trees, the sound of my walking. It seemed odd for a semi-urban neighborhood to sound so still.
As I walked without headphones all the things that have been churning and spinning and processing in my head all day connected like links in a chain and spilled out of my steps. It felt cleansing.
So as I was driving today, and my thoughts began to clear and I began to feel better, I started to realize that this quiet is what facilitated that release for me. And it made me realize how important quiet is for my internal health, and yet how hard it is to make room for seeming nothingness. It feels good to have the busyness of sound around me. It at times gives me a sense of familiarity, which is comforting when when its not good for me.
I used to think silence meant hearing nothing so I could think nothing so that my mind would be completely clear. But I wonder now if quiet is more about opening a valve inside myself, and giving myself room to notice what is already taking place inside of me. And even more, allowing Jesus who's already loving me there to meet me in the quiet, in the connecting of all the swirling thoughts and emotions. Ultimately, even as scary as it can be to enter, in the quiet I am not alone.
How do you feel about quiet?
Share with me in the comments.