Being Still

Too many voices it won’t take long
which one’s right and which one’s wrong
and yours is most likely to be misunderstood…

and I am contemplating matters
all this cling and clatter
in my head and what you said
is ringing, ringing faster.
Lifehouse- Cling and Clatter

We are told we need silence, away from all the distractions- from the TV, computer hum, vibrating mobile, chatter around, music in my ears.

So I still myself, sit down for silence
And I find noise:
Cars racing past outside, a whispered conversation, creaking chairs, the scratch of a pen on paper.
And louder than all that, the chatter in my head.
New to do lists, new to don’t lists. A new year, new resolutions- about attitude, character, action, aspirations. There is never enough time, there will never be enough time. And so like a constant backdrop the question of ‘Is this a waste of time?’.

Is it a waste of time to sit, still, in silence when there is so much to be done?

As I wrote that last line the traffic stopped, just for a few seconds and there was no noise- just for a moment.

Long enough for me to hear my heart beating- too fast for one sitting still
Long enough to hear the clamour of accusing voices internally ‘not good enough’
Long enough to hear God?

I am not one to think that one cannot hear God through music, or through the noise of a city. I am an urban dweller, a millennial, my life has had a soundtrack. I have had to learn to hear God above the din of everyday life.
Surely that should be within the din of everyday life?

And who says everyday life should be full of din anyway? Perhaps I have got so used to noise- external and internal that I can’t conceive of it any other way.
But there is a yearning for quiet, that makes itself felt whenever I find myself, rarely, in a quiet place. Mindfulness, I guess some would call it. A desire for internal quiet if not always external quiet. The Bible talks of peace and being still.

Perhaps it was easier for them then. But I don’t imagine I am so different from them. Perhaps their world was quieter, but I’m sure their hearts were just as capable of noise and din.

Be still,
and know that I am God.

Perhaps the yearning isn’t for quiet but to know God, to allow myself long enough to focus back on the One who sustains me, to be reminded that it doesn’t depend on me.


So this year I will try 15 minutes a week of silence. Perhaps doing something like writing, or colouring in; indoors or outdoors. But silent, no background music and in a quiet place (though inevitably there will be background noise).


[this was written during a reflective service last week, so it is in a slightly different style than my normal writing. I wanted to post it as a form of accountability to this intention]


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