Change Your Perspective To Hear Through the Noise

Stone cold silence or cackling chatter? White space or sensational brilliance? Do you seek your solace in the madding crowd or do you prefer a soft, suffocating stillness?

Perspective is a tricky thing. We have boundaries. We live within limits, some self-imposed and others pressed upon us by people, places, things. You may look at the image above and see absence of noise where someone else sees a birdhouse and thinks friendly chatter. You may see absence of people, and others might imagine neighbors beyond the big woods. Perhaps you’re startled by lack of tire tracks, yet others see a road less traveled. Many look straight ahead and see a perpendicular choice; others pause and consider the beauty of parallels …

What can’t you see on the other side of the fence? Where would you be if you climbed the bank in search of higher ground? What would happen if you took shelter in the trees straight ahead?

The lucky among us have an innate ability to question the possibilities and imagine a different set of circumstances. They see beauty in the midst of chaos or at the very least, possibility. They maintain a sense of wonder and with it, a quiet wisdom. They remember the comfort of make-believe, and allow themselves to embrace a bit of mysticism in a cynical and often chaotic adulthood.

Have you started to wonder “What on earth is she getting at?”

Here it is, plain and simple. I stumbled upon a handwritten scrap of notebook paper in a wooden box. My 13-year-old self copied a passage from Anne of Green Gables that has survived the test of 30 years’ time: 

It has always seemed to me, ever since early childhood, amid all the commonplaces of life, I was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil. I could never draw it quite aside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realms beyond — only a glimpse — but those glimpses have always made life worthwhile.

Turn Down the Volume

Life is loud. It used to be that cranked-up music disturbed the neighbors. Today those neighbors may not even be aware of the people next door. The new beat can shake the very foundation of our home. It filters in through every crack and crevice unless we’re vigilant, and it’s certainly not as beautiful as the seemingly innocent notes in yesterday’s brain-thumping monster ballads of rock. We must walk through the exit every once in awhile before we forget how to find our escape.

We have noise in our pockets, noise in our cars. We have noise strapped to our arms and covering our ears. We have bright lights and sky-high billboards and online shopping experiences that move signals through air like magic to determine our habits, patterns, preferences and desires. We’re tracked and categorized, subjected to even more noise, and marketed according to personality type. We’re moving targets and anonymity no longer exists.

Boy walking in a snowy field

Unless you’re walking through a snowy pasture on a rural route in the dead of winter. But hey, you never know when the Google Street View car will drive by. And then there’s that droning overhead.

Fence in snow

In Grace Upon Grace, John Kleinig writes about the wisdom of taking time away from the world in order to hear the whispering of God.

We know from Luke’s Gospel that Jesus regularly withdrew from his disciples, usually at night, to be alone with his heavenly Father, in some solitary place … As God’s son, Jesus rests in the arms of his heavenly Father and hears His very heartbeat. John 1:18 — “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Jesus learns from God by listening to Him. John 7:15-16

And there it is … we learn by listening. We cannot hear our own voice or those of family and friends — let alone the voice of God — if we don’t make a conscious effort to stop the noise. Hebrews 4:12-13 says:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

I can trick social media and break my patterns to confuse ad tracking. I can lock it down and make everything private. I can deactivate, delete and declare no more online activity. No matter. What I can’t do is limit my interactions with God. He knows all, sees all and loves me anyway. I can’t hide from Him … nor would I want to.

I CAN TURN DOWN THE VOLUME OF THE WORLD and listen to the one who created the world.

For me, that could be a snowy path or a walk along a babbling brook. Perhaps for you it’s a sandy beach or a snowy mountaintop or a bike path along the river or a wooden pew on Sunday morning or a bustling city street. What matters is perspective.

Seek opportunities to discern the voice that speaks wherever, whenever, always.

Listen.

 

 

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