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.