Have you become too familiar with the noise?

We travel regularly for our work. We’re in hotels several times a year and we hope our room will have an a/c we can set where the fan continues to whir. We’ve had rooms where its constant hum lulls us to sleep only to awaken in the middle of the night to harsh silence. It seems an odd contradiction but you know what I mean. It can be hard to sleep in an unfamiliar place when it’s too quiet.
It’s near the mid year mark and true to form, I’d forgotten my one little word. The one word I was sure God whispered to me as the calendar was saying goodbye to last year – Peace. My word for the year, not the month. This word appeared at the busiest time of this year for us.
We traveled a lot last month. Hustle. 
We received word of two more fatal overdoses of former residents. Pain.
We waited for word of annual transfers in our department. Anxiety.
Holy Week leading up to Easter meant more planning and organizing and people and more hustle and doing and showing up and giving.
Last weekend we were at an annual retreat for our recovery community in Florida. Over 400 people gathered in a peaceful setting in rural North Florida. A place without street lights allowing the stars to beam bright in the night sky. A place where horses grazed quietly behind the softball field surrounded by cheering fans. The noise of cheers, laughs, singing, making new friends, this noise ushers peace. Yet, amid this peaceful time, there were hurt feelings, misunderstandings, disagreements. Peace is often up against unrest and the tension pulls at us and threatens to displace the peace. 
Few of us have peaceful lives. Conflict, differences, lies, anger, disappointment…all of these bring noise into our lives. Sometimes, like the a/c in our hotel room, we are so familiar with the hum it’s become white noise, in the background, barely noticed until we rediscover quiet.
That’s how I felt when I came across my journal and saw the word again. The white noise has been droning on in an imitation of comfort, an imitation of peace. I’m afraid we’ve accepted imitations for so long we can barely recognize what is real.
Real peace isn’t drowned out by life’s noise.
Real peace is present in disappointment and hurt. 
In the middle of the raging storm, Jesus was asleep on the boat. His disciples were frantic, as I would be. They were fishermen. They knew boats and storms and understood this was bad. What they didn’t understand was how Jesus could sleep through it. Peace. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, spoke to the winds and said: “Peace, be still”.
I’m afraid, at times, it’s me who keeps stirring the winds that blow around me. I speak before I think. I rush. I react rather than respond.
I’m hearing the noise and not his voice. I can block out children across from me on an airplane or the hum of traffic over our backyard fence. I can block out some of the physical noise but maybe I’m also blocking out that inner voice calling me to peace.

12 Comments

  1. Debby,
    Your concluding words about blocking out noise yet the realization that you also might be blocking out words God wants you to hear are so powerful! I can relate as often I identify something as an interruption or obstacle, forgetting that in the midst of that might be the very thing God wants to show me. Love these words and your thoughts today, friend! xoxo

    May 3, 2017
    Reply
  2. Annie Rim said:

    I get caught up so easily in the whirl of life. I love your reminder that peace can be found in the middle of a raging storm. That God’s peace transcends our schedules and busyness. Taking a breath over here and praying for you to catch yours, too.

    May 3, 2017
    Reply
  3. Lesley said:

    I agree, it’s easy to get used to the noise and settle for an imitation of comfort or peace instead of seeking the real thing. Being still and silent to really hear God’s voice is something I’ve been challenged about lately.

    May 3, 2017
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Challenging would be my word for it too Lesley.

      May 3, 2017
      Reply
  4. sarahgirl3 said:

    “Imitation of comfort.” Nailed it. We are far too used to the noise and unrest of the world, that’s for sure.

    May 3, 2017
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Those words surprised even me, Sarah. When I typed them out I realized how much of our lives are lived with imitations. Perhaps I need to think on that more.

      May 4, 2017
      Reply
  5. Lux G. said:

    Yes. Sometimes I get so used with the noise that it’s a challenge hearing God’s voice.
    Thanks for this beautiful reminder. God is always there.

    May 3, 2017
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Thanks Lux. It seems we aren’t alone in being numb to the noise.

      May 4, 2017
      Reply
  6. rjbritton said:

    I like the thought that sometimes I stir things up, like a high wind or a storm, so I’m not experiencing peace.

    May 5, 2017
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      It’s one of those after the fact realizations, rjbritton. But hopefully, one I can learn from.

      May 7, 2017
      Reply

Leave a Reply