A Prayer That Fits

A few years ago Hoosier politicians legislated a moment of silence into the school day. But don’t worry. Those three seconds are not interfering with student learning.

In fact, they could stand an extra shot of espresso.

Because silence is a weak drink these days. In the classroom, in the workplace, and in the home, people are thumbing their noses at it.

Like it’s some kind of cheap coffee.

Life is busy. And so most drinkers crave something which looks stronger — to keep them going longer.

My day jumped from the starting gate at the sound of an alarm, a radio and an electronic reveille. No one cheered during those first moments, but there was a good deal of groaning. An hour later, even my double-strength americano was powerless against a gathering cacophony of bells and student voices.

A decidedly noisy day, it was.

And on the other weary end of it, my children made their own riotous contribution at home. In my world, silence is already listed on the endangered species list. I’ll fight for it. And I’ll retreat for it. But either way, the battle often leaves me bitter.

But tonight I surrendered and cranked up the volume. To drown out their interminable voices, I turned to music. Loud music. I chose the theme song from “Mission Impossible”.

It’s one of their favorites. Go figure.

James was the first to accept his mission. He wiggled and rolled through his chubby-shaped somersaults until we all came together for a family dance party, which quickly moved into techno territory. I choreographed and taught Star Wars-inspired dance moves for the raucous show. The kids loved the noise and the movement. And so did I.

At bedtime, they requested more music — something they never do. James fell asleep to jazz. And Henry shut his eyes to old hymns.

We need noise as much as silence. And maybe we find our best silence only after we make our joyful noise.

Just ask a noisy guy named Bono. Drowning in his own clamor and clatter, the U2 frontman understands how making a joyful noise moves us beyond the selfish sound of our own lives. “Laughter is eternity if the joy is real,” he proclaims in a recent song about boots. Oddly enough, we often need a pair of boots to learn a new routine.

“Let me in the sound,” he begs like a little boy, over and over, as he stomps and splashes his way across a watery bridge. Toward joy. Yes, it is by loving and serving others that we make our joyful splash, through His grace, to the other side.

Let me in the sound.

Somehow, that bold prayer fits like a good pair in this noisy world.

And I would do well to pull my three seconds into them — as I journey toward somewhere larger.

And louder.

10 thoughts on “A Prayer That Fits

  1. I like this post.. I am often left longing for the silent moments in each day. With purpose I send my older children to school and wake my younger two almost 2 hours later just so I can soak in the silence and in Him. And to think.. perhaps years from now all my house will be filled with silence and then may I long for the hustle of the day and the thumping of little feet.

    Blessings
    Misty

    • Yes, Misty, the rhythms of life ARE strange. I guess we need to learn to soak in whatever gift God has blessed us with, given the particular stage of life in which He has placed us. It’s not always easy because the grass often looks greener on the other side of the fence. But, praise God, He’s with us on both sides! Thank you for taking the time to comment today, Misty, and reminding me of how the noises of life and family are fleeting. It’s a reminder to be thankful. Be blessed with His good Presence this week …

  2. Great thoughts. i have come to the conclusion that noise and ‘the silence co-exist’. For me, the silence of His presence nearly always takes the stage during noise – any noise, not just good noise. Kind of like a drop of oil in a bucket of water. It’s almost all water(noise) than this film of oil (silence) creeps across the top, and suddenly there He is. The water causes the oil to rise to the surface. I pray you will hear His silence this week.

    • That is a wonderful way to put it, Gary. Seriously. That image will stick with me for a long time. Sometimes, I still crave monk silence but, like you said, that silence “nearly always takes the stage during noise.” You’re right that we often get the idea that, if He comes during noise, then it must be some worshipful praise kind of noise. But His stillness comes in chaos, brokenness and helplessness, too. That’s the miracle of His birth. I’m praying for you this week as well. (We still need to get together for a coffee.)

  3. What a beautiful post. I love this, “And maybe we find our best silence only after we make our joyful noise.” The truth in this statement rings loud in my soul…for I know it is in praising Him that I encounter showers of His holiness, often leaving me basking in His presence and unable to utter a sound…

    • I often get frustrated because I can’t find enough time or space for silence, for BE-ing with Him. But somehow if I can just make a joyful noise — by praising, praying, or SERVING — then those “showers of holiness” and quiet intimacy seem to show up out of nowhere. Like a rainbow. Thanks so much for your comment and your words, Shelly! Be well with His Presence this week.

  4. Thank you for sharing your insight on this subject. I really like the title of your blog.
    Where would the world be without music? I hate to even think about it.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

    • Yes, thanks for chiming in with that shout! That album, and others, did a lot of good for me back in the day. But let’s not forget how the song continues: “We shout louder than the world by the way we serve!” And I think Bono’s prayer plays out in the same direction. Serving others is the way to get ourselves into the larger, louder sound. It’s the sound of others which matters most. But I also like to think of the sound, in its geographic (er, poetic) sense, as a narrow passageway connecting two larger bodies of water. While serving, we splash through His grace to the other side.

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