Have you ever heard the phrase “the silence was deafening”? Silence is silence. Unlike noise, which can be different tones, pitches, volumes, one silence cannot in nature be different from other silence. But this term describes a state we often find ourselves mentally, emotionally or spiritually. The thing I’ve found about the deafening silence is that it is based on a sudden change from noise that is blearing one second to an immediate change to nothing. We haven’t had time to adapt. There hasn’t been a gradual turning down the dial from full volume to nothing, instead where there was an lengthy period of intense noise all of a sudden sound was muted and we haven’t had the time to adapt. So, the sound of silence all of a sudden is deafening.
Three months ago my phone just wouldn’t stop. No matter the day of the week calls, texts, tags on social media, and emails came in at every moment of the day. This was my normal level of noise for as long as I can remember. There were times I would say – I just wish it would stop – I want to live in the moment with the person across from me in the café, I want to spend time with my family without the distraction of noise.
That wish came true.
There have been moments the past three months where I have enjoyed this new silence. My times with my kids are now uninterrupted by church or people’s pressing needs (or seemingly pressing – you’d be surprised how much in your life can actually just wait :P). But there are moments where the silence now is excruciatingly painful. Silence from people who I once called friend. Silence from purpose. Silence from joy. Silence from hope. Silence while I’m lying alone in bed. Silence while I’m doing a nightshift alone, darkness all around and no one nearby to talk to. Silence. Painful, Deafening Silence.
This silence has caused me to go deaf in some way – deaf to the noise that is present. Because while I say there has been silence, there have been a faithful few who are constant. A faithful few people (some I never expected) who have consistently called out to see how I’m going. But like so often in other areas, the negatives, the darkness, the mess can seem so much more apparent and real than that which is good and present.
This morning I was reminded while reading in Mark that Jesus works best with deaf ears. Mark 7:37 – “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear…” I’m choosing to silence the deafening silence, and embrace the noise that’s present. I’m choosing to allow Jesus to cause me to hear who and what He wants me to hear in His love.
To those who have reached out who I haven’t replied to, thank you. It has meant a lot. To those who haven’t because you are waiting for me to or because you don’t know what to say, you don’t have to say anything that you wouldn’t have said in the past. I’m still the same guy. Our conversations can be the same as they were before. I’m happy to live with tension of disagreement in my relationships – if that’s what you are concerned about. But out of respect and a desire not to make people uncomfortable I won’t initiate a conversation.
If you are experiencing deafening silence from people, work, God, in Covid-19, know you aren’t alone and if you need to hear words of encouragement, compassion and love of Jesus – I am more than happy for you to reach out to me and let’s catch up to quiet the deafening noise of silence in each other’s lives.