For the first time today, I am not listening to ...
Yells and squeals as the kids wrestle,
Screams and shrieks as the kids' wrestling goes south,
Hollers for ice packs and mad attempts to make the injured laugh,
Aaron and his buddy transforming into Pee Wee Herman*,
Ashley screeching as she tries to out-silly the boys,
Lydia yelling, "No!" to everything anybody asks,
Norah blowing across the top of her straw, repeatedly,
Boys trash-talking their computer competition and cheering their computer teams - loud and futile,
Lydia screaming, "Orng Guy!" in her attempt to have a piece of candy,
Aaron's detailed (and stupefying) recounting of his most recent Wii battle,
Gimli barking at the (threatening) pile of leaves in the culdesac,
Someone coughing endlessly in the living room,
Norah hollering from her room that Lydia has her cornered on the top bunk,
Baby S zerberting happily in her swing,
Lydia shrieking as someone budges in and shows her how to play with Play-Doh,
The phone ringing, "This is the Public Library, a book you have reserved is now available.",
Aaron's 14th request to, "Take five to play TapZoo",
Constant counting as the kids play endless games of hide-n-seek ... 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57 ...
Ashley's distress at being unable to find her Toy Story 3 play phone,
Gimli barking at the little fluffy thing on the other side of the fence,
Lydia repeating, "Dink Muh" ... ad finitum,
Feet thumping down the stairs, leaping over the last three steps to land with a thud,
Baby S protesting the hands-on help of her friends,
The bee-bop rhythm of the demo track on the synthesizer in the basement,
Yelps and giggles as the kids play Wii Party,
Cries and wails as three kids lose Wii Party,
Ashley crying that Lydia has her Toy Story 3 play phone,
The computer "barking" as the the timer being used for lazy hide-n-seekers is ignored,
Lydia asking again, "I pay Pee-Pod?",
Norah gymnasticking while Pandora plays the Hannah Montana station very loud,
Aaron yelling from the basement that, "Lydia's driving me CrAzY!",
Lydia screaming from the basement that, "I pay bahl!"
The phone ringing, "Hi. Is Aaron there?",
Ashley tattling that, "So-and-So did Thus-And-Such",
Each child informing me that they are hungry,
Lydia and Ashley protesting their need to rest,
Weeping and whimpering from their beds, confirming their need to rest,
Maniacal laughter as the kids play "Leap or Stride" in the family room**,
The bee-bop rhythm of the demo track still bee-bopping from the basement,
Heated discussions about the rules and regulations of "Leap or stride",
Gimli barking at the branch on the back porch, and
The mind-numbing theme song from Animal Jam.
*They've never seen/heard/watch/encountered Pee Wee, but they have the uncanny (and unnerving) ability to sound just like him. This is not a good thing.
** Involves a ginormous pile of pillows, the pink gymnastic mat, and an exercise ball. There is a lot of bouncing, flying and flailing. Use your imagination.
Finally, here in my nest, it's quiet. But not quite silent. Due to a pesky ear infection a few weeks ago, there is a slight ringing in my left ear. A little, "eeeeeeeeeee", like you hear after you leave a concert or party. It's like being able to hear the silence. Kinda weird. It's made me very aware of the absence of sound ... and how infrequent I experience it.
Throughout the day (as proven above), my day is full of sounds. But it's not all the kids' fault. I do my fair share of filling the silence, as well. When alone in the kitchen, I turn on Jack Johnson or Sara Groves. Sitting at the wheel of the van, I turn on the radio. In a few quiet moments in the afternoon flip on the TV. The kids go to bed and Brett and I settle on the couch for an episode of our favorite shows. It's not until my head hits the pillow that I allow myself to settle into the quiet.
If this is my typical day (which I can assure you it is), how exactly am I supposed to tune into the quiet voices in my life?
My heart doesn't shout ... it quietly waits for me to pause and look inward.
My spirit doesn't holler ... it sits, awaiting nourishment.
God rarely yells ... He wants me to be still and listen.
It is essential that I carve out time for quietness. And it's essential that I guard that quietness and not fill it up. But that might be a challenge because silence can be uncomfortable ... what if I hear something from my heart or from God that requires change or a response. It's easier to allow noise to become a buffer between me and my heart, me and my spirit, me and my God ... but it's not what is best.
What about you? How often do you find yourself in the silence? How often do you listen through the silence?
My goal is to hear more silence this week ... and take time to hear from from my heart, my spirit and my God.
8b Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:8b-10)