Writing this today, I sit looking out the window and hear the clock ticking. As the clock continues its relentless tick-tocking, I hear birds outside the window and trucks moving down Route 4. I can hear the building creak as the sun warms up its exterior. Digging deeper, I can hear myself breathing, and my stomach grumbles, telling me it needs food. I can hear myself swallow (sort of gross), and I can even hear the inner workings of the “supposed to be quiet” computer as it processes my every keystroke.
It sounds (Ha! See what I did there!) like I’m in a reasonably quiet location. And for the most part, I am. But there is still so much noise. There is always some noise around us, which seems inescapable.
Unless, that is, you’re in an underground room in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
And you’ll find such a room at Orfield Laboratories where the world’s quietest room has been built. It’s an anechoic chamber, which doesn’t mean much until you read that it’s 99.99% soundproof. The room is regularly used for recording small sounds, but others go to experience that level of quiet. And for $200, you can see how long you can sit in the room. From what I can gather, those sitting in the room begin to hear things we miss daily. Their ears start to adapt to the super quiet setting of the room. The person’s ears pick up sounds, such as their heart beating or lungs expanding and contracting because layers of other sounds have been removed.
The point is this, there seem to be constant layers of noise in our lives. And silence in this room allows us to hear layers we most often miss because they’re buried under other layers of noise. I don’t know about you, but I long for quiet. It seems life is full of an onslaught of noise that’s hard to escape and listen for what can often get buried underneath.
It reminds me of a psalm of David where he describes a simple contented trust. David describes himself as unconcerned with matters too great to grasp and that his heart isn’t proud or eyes haughty. Instead, he has…
…calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me. Psalm 131:2
David sought silence both inside and out. He didn’t have a super silent room in Minnesota, but I believe David discovered something that we’ve likely forgotten.
The inner ears of our soul adapts the quieter we become. Layers once buried can now be heard. We begin to hear layers of things underneath that we’ve been missing. It’s almost as if a voice, like the heartbeat heard in the anechoic chamber, is present the whole time. But there were too many layers of noise on top to hear it. Only when we’re quiet enough can we detect them.
And when we’re quiet like that, a couple things emerge. We’re more conscious of God and ourselves. We appreciate the power of the present moment we’ve been gifted. We give ourselves time to reflect, and we’re reminded of what matters most. We hear God saying, “I’m right here with you…I love you”. It’s in the quiet that David is like a child, held close by his mother.
Think about it. David points out that a weaned child no longer needs the mother’s milk. But he or she still needs a mother. I imagine a 5 or 6-year-old child walking alongside his or her mother, not needing milk anymore but utterly reliant on mother. Here I see David’s relationship with God – quietly submissive to God, fully contented to trust Him for everything.
And David reminds himself by quieting himself.
I don’t know what your days look like. But this I do know. You need to get quiet. There are buried layers you’ll never hear if you don’t stop and let your heart adapt to the quiet so it can listen closer. The Holy Spirit is calling out to you. Will you get quiet enough to unbury it so you can hear it? Allow Him to speak to you today!
You are loved!