The Sounds of Silence

It’s such a noisy world right now.   All around, all the time there is noise.   The noise of politics, of countries in chaos, angry people, frustrations over gas prices, and literally a thousand other things bring noise to our lives.  The internet, Apple, Android, Skype, Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, Google, AOL, TV and Radio…it’s everywhere!   And it’s deafening.

I know a little about being deaf.  I have always had a hearing problem.  I have failed every hearing test I have ever taken.  That goes back to kindergarten and the advent of headphones and the 70’s  didn’t help my hearing loss.  The “cool quotient” in the 70’s was based upon how loud you could play your music, not necessarily how good the music was.  As a result, I grew up reading lips as a way to understand what people were saying.  

I learned to hide it pretty well.  At times I am sure that when I was too loud it was just passed off as a young man just trying to get attention.  The truth was, I had an 60% loss in my left ear and about 80% loss in my right.  I never ever really realized how loud I actually was sometimes.

Some of you may know that I traveled with a singing group that promoted Missions and Liberty University in the early 80’s.  I have always been able to sing but for almost four years I traveled all across America and over the world, not singing but running the soundboard for the group.  Actually, I operated the soundboard and had the opportunity to mix the sound for a few of the top Christian Artists during that time.  Go figure…I may have been the only deaf sound man in the United States.  I still laugh about it from time to time.

If my hearing needed any more trauma other than what had come to me naturally, in addition to the loud music I listened to in the 70’s, I did not need the ear infection that started in my left (my better) ear in October of 2008.   The result was a chronic infection that I dealt with for almost two years before I finally had to have a  radical mastoidectomy.  For me, it meant a surgical cut (incision) was made behind the ear. The mastoid bone was  exposed and opened with a surgical drill.  The infection was then removed.  The eardrum and most of the middle ear structures were completely removed.  The stapes (the “stirrup” shaped bone) was spared to help preserve some hearing.  The end result was that I lost almost all (95%) of my hearing in left ear.  That doesn’t mean there is silence because in my left ear all I hear is tinnitus, which is a constant loud ringing in my ear.  Have you ever held up a sea shell to your ear and it sounds like the oceans waves?  Well, multiply the volume of that by 1,000 times and now you know what I hear in my left ear.   In addition, I have lost a good portion of my ability to taste because most of my tongue is numb and I still have a tingling in the tips of my fingers.  All of these are side effects that could happen as a result of this surgery…seems to me that I got all of them.

In light of my deafness, you might find it interesting to know that the one thing I really want is silence.  When I am exposed to loud noises it makes me anxious and uneasy.   The dizzy effect that overcomes me when I am in a crowd or a loud restaurant has been difficult to adjust to.   It is not just about volume of the noise either.   When there is a lot of people talking at once it is so hard for me to pick up one voice because all I hear is all of them at once and it impossible for me to carry on a conversation or even concentrate.  When I am in the lobby after church and everyone is talking and having friendly conversations, all I want is to head out to the car so that I can hear the sound of silence and have some peace of mind. 

I think that’s why music is so enjoyable to me.  I put on some headphones (at the appropriate volume), put on some great music and off I drift with my brain only focusing on one thing.   Music….sweet music that allows me some isolation from the world around me.  It’s life giving for me to have a few minutes of my music.

This “noise” that surrounds us today is deafening.   I think that this is the feeling that most of us feel in times like these.  I don’t think we were designed for all this noise going on in the world.  The noise of politics, of countries in chaos, angry people, frustrations over gas prices, and literally a thousand other things bring this noise to our lives.  Again, it is not just about the volume of the noise but rather the dizzying effect of all the noises happening all at once.   I believe that we all need some quiet time.  We need some time when all the noise is somewhere else and we can listen to God speak to our heart and our mind.  With all the noise around us, I think that sometimes God has to shout to get our attention.  If we could just get away sometimes and  just find a few moments of quiet, we would hear God speak.

Even God had to tell David in Psalms, “BE STILL and know that I am God.”  Sometimes we just have to find some silence, calm our fears and listen to God.

Now, I know that this post isn’t life changing, it isn’t really that interesting.  But I know that lately it’s just a real need I have and I know others do as well. 

The Sounds of Silence.

As you can, with all this noise around you, find a place to be quiet today.  God is speaking and I know you will want to hear what it is that He is saying to you.

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