The Fear of Silence

According to The Star Tribune, this is the world’s quietest room:

Besides being able to hear one’s own heart, stomach and even inner ear, or the sounds emitted by a cellphone’s display, first-timers in the quiet room find their other senses discombobulated by “cross-modal” perceptual effects.

“Your eyes don’t feel as comfortable in this room,” Orfield correctly pointed out, adding that some visitors have had hallucinations during or after a spell in there. “You lose your touchstones.”

Small wonder, then, that even Orfield spends no more than a half-hour at a time in the 99.99 percent soundproof anechoic chamber, and no one has lasted in there for more than 45 minutes.

There is something equally appealing and terrifying about that description, isn’t it? In a world that is crowded with noise – noise of people trying to convince or sell you this thing or that, noise of obligation and responsibility, noise if incessant marketing – it’s difficult to sort through all the messages.

Do I really like this shirt, or do I like it because I’ve been told to?

Is this really healthy food or is this just what the blog told me to eat?

Is this the voice of the Lord or something else?

It’s hard to hear. But the truth is that most of us (me) like it that way. When it’s noisy, we don’t have to look inside. When it’s noisy, we don’t have to confront ourselves. When it’s noisy, we can dull our senses away from the darkness within. But when it’s quiet, there’s nothing left. Nothing but us.

And God.

He’s there, too. And gratefully, mercifully, in the quietest of quiet, when we do finally look inside, we don’t just see darkness. We don’t just hear the pounding of our own hearts. There is another voice there, too. And this voice whispers to our spirit over and over again, “You are a child of God.” If only we were quiet enough to hear…

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