He wears these weird looking Mickey-Mouse-ears, now he does. Now that the damage is done.

He let them beat his hearing near to death, those noises of man, those clamoring cacophonies of “git-er-done” human contrivance. And now he has to strain every nerve to hear true voices speaking to Him.

Competing noise can utterly defeat his effort.

He cannot hear a music-accompanied sermon, especially with drums and bass sounds. And higher pitches often escape him even with hearing aids. Sometimes he can’t even hear his wife proclaiming she loves him!

That’s what the world’s noise can do.

Me? I wear these “silly” things—now.

Even before the Fuchs’ dystrophy, which my mother with no malice aforethought passed on to my eyes, I learned early cataracts were dotting my vision. And now, damage done, the eyes supposedly going blind anyhow, I start wearing sunglasses?

Did I read years ago that harmful light could etch those dots on anyone’s eyes, but paid no attention?

I suppose so. So even without the dystrophy, I’d have their too-early clouding, ever worsening, making oncoming headlights and lamp gleam into hindrances with artificial halos, bleaching out what’s there.

I’m developing an unattractive Mr. Magoo squint to filter out the interference, to see. And if I don’t wear those shades, those harmful rays will keep making bad things worse…

This is what the world’s light can do.

World’s noise and world’s light. They make it hard to hear the heavenly, see the holy. We have to strain, to labor at it. We have to eliminate the interference the best we can. And lots of years of damage work against us, too.

Make no mistake: Brother Lawrence had some definite advantages over us in this.

I never considered—maybe didn’t know—back when I quickly gave up on being a Brother Lawrence: In that walled, sequestered world He entered in 1666, distractions were largely stilled. I don’t know what “rule of silence” his followed, but monasteries of the time had strict “hours of silence,” until at least 9 AM, starting fairly early in the evenings. No one spoke, let alone chattered, let alone chattered and clattered. The only voices allowed within the walls were those lifted in worship at Matins, Lauds, and Terce, in notes and words all pointing to God. And the noon meal was silent but for the reader of holy script or ancient Christian wisdom.

Wow! Can you imagine absolute silence from your children or work colleagues, no traffic sounds except in muffled distance, no roaring engines or bangings or clangings, until at least nine every morning? No TV or radio blaring at night? No video or vimeo flashing and crashing, clashing with the still small voice of God? Wow. Just wow. We really have a challenge in our day!

So “Looking and Listening” to God need all the help we can get them.

I’ve long been fighting this battle. I’m still battling on. Quiet hours are hard to come by around here (yes, in the quaint “quiet” country). But sometimes they prevail—if I don’t junk them up with my own noise, outer or inner. And there are ways to help still the interference, heal the spiritual ears and eyes, “hear” and “see” God even in our clamoring world.

Through August, I hope to explore these. For my own sake. For the sake of any reader who might venture here. And for the sake of His name! May He bless the effort!


Previous posts about this aim of drawing closer to the Lord

(in the order of their appearance):


What Brother Lawrence Said About Can’t

So “C” Stands For…?

Truly Closer

CLOSER Without the C is… ? (How Not to Lose Out)

How a Call to Him Becomes Conversation (Scene One)

Silent But Speaking

How a Call to Him Becomes Conversation (Scene Two)

Entertaining High Thoughts of God

Some Borrowed High Thoughts

Non-Conversations with God

New Month, New Start


5 thoughts on “Voices and Noises

  1. I loved this today. We often talk of the dimming of light, but I don’t know, this might be the first reflection where I really considered how the the world of sound can be a distraction.

    I have tinnitus, which, by the way, is a paradoxical side-effect of deafness. While I need two hearing aids to help me hear, within my head is a constant buzzing when all is quiet. Thus, to have complete silence is impossible for me, save for the grace of my dear Lord Jesus who has enabled me to ignore the constant buzzing to create a personal quiet space.

    Thanks for this today. This is a whole different “take” on quiet times than I had been thinking about. I love the body of Christ.


  2. Dear Dawn, our next-door neighbor has tinnitus, too, and I have often thought how awful that must be, always ringing away in the background of everything, even every thought. Oh, the different thorns God allows us! It’s funny in a way, but a lot of my vision problem involves too much as well as too little, too. Light becomes glare, what I see sometimes doubles, and when I can’t make out what something is, my imagination fills in the blanks so that I think I see something that isn’t there!
    I’m going to be praying for you on an ongoing basis that God keeps giving you an override, wherein your mind ignores/blocks out the noise, especially for “quiet time”!
    (I love the body, too. Solitary we miss all the different experiences and perspectives that go together in our collective being.)

  3. PS to Dawn: I don’t know if this is “sympathy pains” or not, but right now… my ears started ringing! (Yike!)

  4. Silence. It sounds so wonderful! I don’t get much of that these days. I sure would like some.

    Thank you for these thoughts. Yes, to get away from distractions, get away from the world. Longing for this today.

  5. Actually, I don’t get as much of it as you might think. Usually have to get up awfully early in the morning for it (and hope the rooster doesn’t wake up, too!) or stay up late. Maybe this weekend will give us each a bit of quiet.

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