I have never been a huge fan of silence. In my home and in my life there is almost always some "noise" in the background - be it a movie, a radio program, my favorite CD, or just some local news chatter - there is always something noisy to "fill in the empty spaces."
In the last few days, however, this addiction to mental "static" has been waning, and I find myself more and more just sitting... and listening... to silence.
The first time this happened, I was driving in the car by myself and passionately adding "flavor" (read: screechy, out-of-tune incorrect lyrics) to the Kelly Clarkson mix that Hubby made for me. Then right there, in the middle of "Beautiful Disaster," my sneaky pointer finger found its way to the radio button - without my consent, mind you - and turned the whole system OFF! At first, as you can imagine, I was a bit startled by the fact that the finger was able to step outside of the normal order of brain-to-finger-to-brain function and move on its own. But it only took a couple seconds for me to recognize the immediate change in my environment. Suddenly, life was still... peaceful... calm. And seeing as how those are three words that have NEVER found their way into the description of my life, the fact that this little bit of silence brought all three of them at once, delivered revelation into my little mental life. I decided in that moment of clarity to find a little bit of time each day to just sit in silence.
Yesterday, I found that little bit of time during Chloe's bath time. Usually, when Chloe is gettin' her suds on, I sit in my rocking chair in the living room where I can see straight down the hallway into the bathroom. This allows me to watch her while still giving her some "private time" in the tub, playing with her toys and splashing 2.7 gallons of water onto my bathroom floor. This also provides me with some "down" time to watch TV or catch up on the latest telephone gossip while simultaneously keeping an eye on the Little Mermaid in my tub.
Last night was no exceptions to this routine. I made sure she was nestled into a mountain range of glistening bubbles, complete with bathtub baby and rubber ducky, before I bee-lined to my favorite rocking chair to watch some Everybody-Loves-King-of-the-Friends-of-Seinfeld sitcom. But somewhere between Raymond confessing is love to Rachel's husband who couldn't find a cab to the coffee shop, and the 25.3 million commercials showing no less than 346 billion shots of fast food... it suddenly became very noisy in my little living room. I realized that I wasn't enjoying all the flashing advertisements as much as I was tolerating them, and before I could even think about turning down the volume, that sneaky pointer finger swiftly directed itself to the "off" button on my already-in-hand remote.
It was then that I realized... silence isn't really that silent. There was the whirring and swooshing of my dishwasher, the bark of the Jack Russel Terrier from two doors down, the tic-a-tic-a-tic of the children's bicycle spokes as they rode past my open window, and the gurgle of the soup simmering on the stove.
As I slowly rocked back and forth in my little wooden rocker, I closed my eyes and just listened to the noise of my home and the warm spring evening. And in those few moments of silence, a small sound tickled my ears and (I swear) made them perk up like a puppy's.
It was the sound of my little girl's voice. She was holding her baby, and singing ever-so-softly: "Yeeeesss, Jesus loves meeeeeee.... Yeeeesss, Jesus loves meeeeee...."
I found myself in tears as I realized that this picture-perfect moment would have been completely drowned out by the noise and chaos of the rerun-sitcom world had my sneaky pointer finger not found the "off" button. And I wondered... how many other moments have been missed because of the noise that fills my life?
In that moment, with only my little girl's voice singing sweets songs of Jesus' love in the background, I decided to turn it all off.
Sure, there will still be times when I'll sit with Hubby and watch a movie. There will still be music in the car rides and news on the radio... but it will not be the background noise of my life. Because, who would choose "Beautiful Disaster" by Kelly Clarkson over "Jesus loves me" by Chloe Jane?