The Sounds of Silence

Yes, that’s the title of a Simon and Garfunkle song, but isn’t there a song for just about every subject you can possibly discuss?? I believe there is. . . Having grown up in a culture where nobody endures or even embraces silence anymore, (hear that?) I have discovered there is a musical hook for every activity, every discussion, every emotion out there . . . and I’m so lonesome I could cry! NO I’m not, I was just singing.

I work with a guy who, for anonymity’s sake, I will call ‘Phil’. Phil has the same music vocabulary as me. Often, to pass the time, we’ll throw out song lyrics and ‘pick up the next line’.

“Hey Phil, “It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday”. . . to which Phil replies,
“the regular crowd rushes in”. (Billy Joel)
Then Phil will say, “Hop in my Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale, and it’s about to set sail”, and we’ll belt out together, “I got me a car, like, it seats about  20 so, c’mon and bring your juke box money!”  (Love Shack/B-52’s version)
“I am just a poor boy, though my story’s seldom told” – The Boxer, Simon and Garfunkle. We love our music, all kinds, and It passes time, it’s shared memories, and it’s fun to work with someone who has a similar music knowledge. (I would not play this game  with a DJ.)

Growing up in my home in MN, we had a stereo – “HiFi” – was the term written on the album covers, and music played a huge part in my day to day life. Some people may cringe at this, but I would listen to a song over and over until I knew every detail of every note, to the extent that, it was if I was there at the recording session. Total immersion. I’m talking about Mitch Miller’s many albums, every musical from South Pacific to Sound of Music. Al Hirt’s ‘Honey in the Horn’, Herb Albert, Chad Mitchell Trio, and the comedy albums of Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby and the Smothers Brothers – just to mention a few that come to mind. It was not unusual for me to put on a stack of records and fall asleep on the floor in front of the stereo. Dad would sometimes pick me up and carry me up to bed. I was a very sound sleeper.

But this brings me to the silence part I spoke of in the title – when are we ever quiet? Every moment of the day we are bombarded with music at work, music in the car, TV at home, background music in the store and restaurant, and the hum of electronics day and night. (I, personally, have a hard time sleeping without a fan. The white noise is soothing) But few of us are ever quiet!

When I find myself at home alone on a day off, I rarely turn on the TV. I may play a CD while I’m cleaning, (like Pharrell Williams ‘Happy”!!!)  but mostly, I enjoy the quiet. I can sort my thoughts, be reflective, pray, sing, read a new book, and I can enjoy the absence of background noise.

Take a chair and go sit in your back yard. Too much noise? Go to the nearest park or woods and be alone with your thoughts. All the noise with which we are surrounded requires attention. Information that needs sorting and filtering. Music that fills the spaces in our head – sounds that need attention. What happens when we shut that off? What will we hear from our innermost being? You might be surprised at what separating yourself from sound can do.

I pity the younger generation which, bombarded with technology beyond measure, finds the silence of the night a fearsome thing. The moment you find yourself in silence, your mind races to those things that couldn’t ‘get in’ during the noise of the day. Places of fear, places of being overwhelmed with all that wasn’t done the day before, all that needs to be done tomorrow. . . the ‘what if’s?’ of life. The racing thoughts that won’t let you sleep. I can honestly say – ‘been there, done that’.

If you would you spend some time during the day in quiet, would these things be dealt with and put away before the night when they tend to loom larger? I have learned to sleep soundly in my old age. There is such peace in knowing you’re in the loving hands of God and nothing can touch you that hasn’t passed through Him first. And the song for that would be. . . Oh how He loves you and me!