The Dancing Puritan

Thursday, August 1, 2013


What do you hear when a song is playing, waves are crashing, birds are singing, and children are playing? Recently I saw an old sign advertising help for hearing. It read, Sonotone: The House of Hearing. Some of us need to visit that house and learn how to better hear. We are good at opining but not as keen at hearing. We have a hard time hearing anything. There are just too many voices, even those inside of us.

Think of a recent conversation with a friend. Perhaps there was no background noise to speak of. However, you had a difficult time hearing because of all of the voices speaking inside of your head. The voices were reminding you of appointments, duties of the day, a song listened to earlier, and a thousand other things. So at the same time that a real person was talking to you a thousand voices were also vying for your attention.

And then there is the background noise of chatter, music, television, vehicles, text notices buzzing, and etc, etc. We are dull from noise and struggle to hear the main voice speaking to us. There is also the problem of preparing to speak before we properly digest what is being said to us. How often have you formed sentences in your mind at the same time someone was sharing their thoughts with you? It is hard to hear when preparing to speak.

I had a teacher in school that would have us play the silent game. The game consisted of being quiet and listening intently for five minutes. During that time we were to write down all of the sounds that we heard. The janitor down the hall, the birds outside, another class moving around, all became clear to our hearing. Her point, other than just needing some peace and quite for a few minutes, was to teach us how to hear. My teacher believed that quietness was necessary to hearing.

God instructs us to Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). Knowing God requires silence sometimes. Silence is also essential in knowing children and friends. Perhaps it would be a good exercise for you to play the silent game. Pause for five minutes and just listen. You might be surprised at what you hear. God is being praised with instruments, waves crashing, as rivers clap their hands and as the hills sing for joy (Psalm 98). Do you hear them? Do you hear God being praised?  Listen and hear.