I must be the only one in this world of ours that truly appreciates quietness. Maybe it’s old age stomping its tired old boots, but I think the world has gotten just a little bit noisier. As I got older, I thought my hearing would begin to diminish. I assure you, I am hearing more today than I have ever wanted to hear in all my life.
I remember my grandfather and his hearing aid. When there was a family gathering and he was sitting quietly smiling, I came to understand he had turned his hearing aid off. How I envy him now. If only I could turn my hearing aid off.
I have tried ignoring my wife, but I can assure you that was not a very good plan. To ignore your wife is to place your health in dire jeopardy. Who wants Alex Trebek breathing down your neck? “I’ll take American history for $100, Alex.”
Not long ago I had to take a trip flying the friendly skies. I do not mind flying, but it is not my favorite mode of travel. I would rather stay at home and dream of traveling. On a recent trip, I happened to sit next to an elderly man.
We exchanged pleasantries and I settled down with a book hoping to get in a few pages before the trip ended. I had selected a very special book for this trip. My elderly friend settled down with the full intention of rehearsing to me his entire autobiography. For an old gentleman, he had a fantastic memory. I think, but do not quote me here, he recited to me every blessed day of his life. If my recollection is correct, and I know I was brain fuzzy during the whole process, he related one incident at least four different times. Either he is the father of “Groundhog Day,” or many things in his life happened repeatedly.
Last week I went to get my haircut at a local hair salon. I usually go to a particular one near my house and I stopped in for my regular haircut. A few people were ahead of me, so I sat down, picked up a magazine and was going to have a pleasant time waiting my turn.
Not paying too much attention to the clientele, there was sitting next to me today very nice little girl. I made one mistake. I looked at her and said, “And how are you today, little girl?”
That was the last sentence I got in for the next hour. She talked so much I thought her tongue would fall out. Then she talked some more and I thought my ears would fall off. How can anybody so young have so much to say? I am 10 times her age and I do not have one 10th as much to say to her, as she had to say to me. Who in the world is teaching these children to talk?
Then, in the middle of her chat diarrhea, she looked at me and said, “What do you think about that, mister?” Not expecting it and not really knowing what she was talking about, I hesitated for a moment.
My second mistake.
Before I could take a good breath, she began her chat diarrhea as though she was just beginning. She was probably about six years of age with not a very large vocabulary but she knew how to use every word in her vocabulary a multitude of times. Some of her sentences were five minutes long, and at the end, I had no idea what she was saying. The end of her sentence had no apparent relationship to the beginning of her sentence. And the middle, well, who could follow that.
Oh, how I pity her English teacher.
I date back to the time before cell phones. I know not many people are living today who dates back that far. We have become a generation of cell phones. Before the cell phone era, that was the day, I could sneak off somewhere and nobody could find me.
Oh, how I envy those glorious days of yesteryear.
Now I pack one of those blasted cell phones wherever I go. No matter where I am, somebody can get a hold of me. When I say somebody, I am actually referring to my wife. As it stands now, I am within dialing distance of her Majesty.
Thinking about this I have come up with, maybe not a solution, but at least a little reprieve for those of us who are tired of the noise. I propose a national noise-free-day celebrated every year. For 24 hours, nobody would be permitted to say anything.
I know this would hit the politicians rather hard. Everybody knows if a politician does not speak for a 24-hour period the fickle electorate would forget about him or her. And, for a politician not to say anything for a 24-hour period it would cause him or her to die of suffocation.
Actually, in either case the American public wins.
This brings me to my favorite Bible verse. “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalms 46:10 KJV).
It is in the stillness that we begin to know God. What would happen if for a brief moment each day we became still before the presence of God?
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