As I was driving today, I noticed that I was driving right next to a train and didn’t even hear it. The radio in my car wasn’t blaring, but it was enough to cover up the sounds of the train. As I thought about this, I saw some similarities between drowning out the noise of life and living in a cocoon, protected from the burdens in other people’s lives.
I think I was more acutely aware of this today because last night I read a chapter in The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan that talked about paying attention to the details of life. Buchanan encourages readers to restore Sabbath, and one of the practices that he describes to experience Sabbath rest is to stop to find what’s missing. He urges readers, “See it all. Like Adam, name it.”
God’s creation inspires me, but I often don’t let it. I can’t hear the birds singing in the morning because I’ve got the radio on while I’m getting ready for work. I don’t hear the children in the neighborhood playing in the evenings because I have the television on. I can’t hear the locusts at night because I turn on a sound conditioner to cover up the endless barking of the next-door neighbor’s dog. And by drowning out God’s creation, I’m often removing the opportunity to hear from God.
All of the man-made sounds that I’m replacing God’s sounds with are merely imitations. These imitations keep me distracted. And by staying distracted, I don’t have to deal with things in my life, like the emptiness that comes from unmet desires. But counterfeit imitations only suffice for so long. And then I crave the real thing.
Tonight, now that I’m out of the cocoon, I’m looking forward to spending time with a family who is going through a difficult time after the father was injured in a fall last week. And now that I’ve had it with artificial sounds for a while, I’m looking forward to the real sounds of a Texas summer night.