This past weekend was an eye-opener for me; well actually, possibly more of a reminder than an eye-opener. It was a reminder that I am very spoiled to my daily routine. My days start with quiet time. Silence. Peace. Tranquil. Serene. This quiet time gives my mind time to reach out and touch the day without a lot of confusion or commotion. It allows me time to commune with my Lord, and gives me the silence I need to absorb His guidance within the calmness of the morning. I deliberately choose, first thing in the morning, to block out the insanity of this sphere that we reside on; because it doesn’t take long for the chaos of the day to circle about. Sometimes when I venture out into the real world, my senses become overwhelmed with the reverberating noise and confusion that encases humanity. This past weekend was one of those times. It wasn’t a horrible event, or even a bad weekend. It was just a time when I could find no silence to rest my weary mind!
It was the “take the child back to college” weekend. Her dad drove the truck with the bulky belongs and I rode with her. The first thing this child does after starting the engine (any time) is to sync up that electronic device. Music MUST be coming from the speakers at all times. That’s OK, but thus began my weekend of noise! The three and a half hour drive was companionably completed with music that we both enjoy, some new some old, some really old! Once we got to “move-in day” on campus, there was activity and noise everywhere. There were the mass of volunteers scurrying around on every corner. I heard someone ask the person in the car next to me if they needed help. That person declined as they were just waiting for someone. I didn’t say a word, I just raised my hand. The guy asks if I need help and I definitely did not decline. Before I knew it, there were about eight people swarming the truck and the car. The things from the truck and the car were unloaded and carried to the room within minutes. I’m thinking that her dad didn’t even lift a finger in the unloading, carrying process. Then there was the pounding, clanging, banging and shuffling of getting two young ladies moved into a room the size of a shoe box. It took some creative organization, and a bruised shin bone for her dad, but they both got situated with surprisingly more room than we thought imaginable.
When we finished up at the school, we checked into a local hotel. We were meeting friends for dinner at 6:30 PM, but had about three hours before we were to congregate. The idea was to relax and chill out for a bit. I’m thinking relaxing means a little peace and quiet. For the other two sharing the room, relaxing generally includes television. I am NOT a television person, except when Christmas movies are on around the holidays. I am really not a television person when it comes to wanting some relaxation time. I think I am the odd-ball of my family. The rest of my family seems to need television, if just for noise in the background, a trusted companion. So, when we got to our hotel room, the television was the first thing turned on! There goes that hope of silence! Let’s just say that I learned more about “mountain men” and “ice road truckers” than I ever thought there was possible to know! But that is OK. It was kind of interesting, in a reality TV kind of way. And as my preacher says, “The more you know, the more you know.” When we met our friends for dinner, the evening continued at a noisy deli that is my favorite when we are in town. Visiting with friends and catching up was great, noisy but great!
When we adjourned back to our room, we had more wilderness programs and then we stuck on the Weather Channel with coverage of hurricane Harvey playing throughout the night until the early morning. I woke up early at my normal time though. I did not want to disturb the other two so I planned to sneak out to the lobby somewhere and find a quiet corner for my morning quiet time. Silence. Peace. Tranquil. Serene. (Are you buying this?) Wrong move. Oh my goodness! Wrong move! Does anyone realize how impossible it is to get away from “noise” in a busy hotel? There was no corner that was not filled with music, sound, or noise of some kind. The noise level there was constant. It was not necessarily loud, just CONSTANT! I don’t think the music blaring from the speakers in the lobby missed even one beat between songs. (Good songs, I might add.) I am thinking it is no wonder that our society is nearly crazy with something they don’t even know they are overdosing on. Noise. People’s minds never seem to get any time to be refreshed by a simple little thing called silence. It is a very, very rare commodity. Over the weekend, between the television that never died to the insane constant noise every where else in the hotel, I felt like my mind had literally been assaulted by sound, seriously; quiet is good people. Quiet is a good thing.
I am sitting here now looking through the window, watching the growing storm outside; watching the wind play with the trees as it swirls in and out and around in a frantic rain dance. The remnant of hurricane Harvey is visiting us on his trek across this great country. There is such mighty power and majesty in the wind, but there is also silence. That is how it is with the wind. It speaks only as loudly as it needs to get the message across. On a sunny summer day, the wind wisps around ruffling the flowers and leaves on the trees. During a cooler fall day, the wind makes itself known a little louder as it pushes heavy clouds across the sky and blows the trees to empty them of multi color leaves. On a day like today, a week like this week, the wind howls and blasts relentlessly as it pushes destruction across the land. That is the thing with the wind, and with nature in general. It only speaks as loudly as it takes to accomplish its task. It does not scream and howl continually just because it has the ability. Nature is balanced and has a lot of common sense you know. That is how it was created. But then, so were we. We have just somehow lost track of some of that good sense. If you ever find yourself on the beach right after a hurricane, you will most likely find eerie, white-washed silence. After the crashing and tossing and howling and screeching, there is peculiar silence. Silence. Peace. Tranquil. Serene. Even nature knows that it needs some time to recoup, to refresh, to heal.
I had to laugh at myself. I was ding-dang determined to find a quiet spot in that hotel. The day was sunny and bright and warm. So I think, “I can go sit by the pool.” I headed outside and walked toward the pool. This would have been OK, but I could not figure out how to open the gate. Guess I needed a fifth grader! As I was fiddling with the lock on the gate, the fella hosing down the pool area informed me that he wasn’t ready for me yet. He says, “Ten more minutes. You need ten more minutes and you can come back.” Come on guy, let me just sit in one of the corners you already have hosed off! But no, not to be. So I took a walk all the way around the outside of the hotel, looking for a perch. As I got back around to the pool area, I noticed a wonderful outdoor seating area right on the other side of the pool. Yes, this was it. It was quiet and somewhat secluded. I ran in to grab a cup of coffee. By the time I got the coffee and came back outside, there, in my spot that I had joyful, if silently, claimed, were congregating a group of men. They were sitting and standing and leaning in my private relaxation area. Really? I wasn’t gone for more than five minutes. Where did they come from? It was just not meant to be. Silence. Peace. Tranquil. Serene. I could not find one area of quiet in the whole hotel. I gave up and went back to my room — of which the TV was already on — and watched hurricane Harvey coverage until it was time to go. From the time we got moving on Saturday morning to purchase last minute items and groceries and such, we were on the move and the day was filled with traffic and congestion and movement and noise. We went to our favorite steak house for lunch before we did the final drop off. Even there, where did they sit us? Not in a quiet corner of the restaurant, oh no. They sat us smack dab in the middle of the bar area, right in front of the television! How fitting. At this point, I gave up on peace and quiet. I knew it was coming, I knew when I got home, I would be in my peace and quiet haven…and I would have been, if my roomie had not wanted to sit up and talk and find out all about our girl that we left behind.
Some things I wondered about on my quest for a quiet place to “see some silence” and think during the weekend were, “When do people shut down and refresh their minds?” “When do they totally relax away from all stimulation?” (Other than when they are asleep.) “When do people really take the time to connect with nature or with their Creator?” “When are people going to realize that our minds are being attacked by being filled nearly to exploding?” I am an odd duck, but I do crave that time…that quiet, silent, peaceful, tranquil, serene time to connect with SomeOne that can refresh my soul.
Jesus and his followers were in a very busy place. There were so many people that he and his followers did not even have time to eat. He said to them, “Come with me. We will go to a quiet place to be alone. There we will get some rest.” (Mark 6:31 ERV)