With a bowl of cantaloupe and blueberries, and half a toasted, multigrain bagel spread with cream cheese, I sit down to enjoy summer morning sounds flowing through screens. Birds chirp as they flit through blue sky. Cicadas buzz from the honey locust tree top. August breeze swishes leaves. I breathe deep, relax and savor each nature sound with each breakfast bite, thanking God for all.
Enter kitchen from bedroom—teenage son, hair mussed. After grunting an unintelligible morning salutation, he shuffles over to the radio and tunes into country music. Suddenly, Carrie Underwood belts out “Jaded” through speakers, preempting birds and cicadas and breeze moved leaves. I cringe.
It’s not that I don’t like country music. I do. It’s just that my blissful breakfast was halted so shockingly with Mr. Teen’s press of a button. Surely, he didn’t realize he was drowning bird, terminating bug, ending breeze, spraying Round-Up on my organic moment.
I start thinking about quiet moments—purposeful, quiet moments. For these, lots of these, we moved to the country years ago. But even in the country, modernity threatens to drown out quiet.
With the constant din of technological devices filling every quiet void, available in every waking moment, do we ever yearn for do-nothing slices of stillness anymore? Do we even know what to do with quiet anymore? Does it make us kind of nervous?
With Carrie grating on my morning nerves, I decide to conduct some impromptu research. Off goes the radio. Excitedly, I ask my son to become an experimental mouse for two minutes. Exactly two minutes, I promise, no more. He’s intrigued because he knows I’m up to something. He follows me out the front door with two beach towels draped across my right arm. He watches me spread them on soft grass under the canopy of the locust tree. And then I sit.
“Come,” I say, patting the other beach towel. “Lay down here for two minutes and close your eyes. Don’t do anything but listen. I’ll tell you when the two minutes are up.”
He grins and obliges. After exactly one minute and twenty five seconds, he taps my shoulder as I lay next to him.
“Thirty five seconds,” I say, trying not to giggle because I KNEW he couldn’t last two minutes. He closes his eyes and remains silent for the remaining seconds. Then I ask some questions.
“Birds tweeting, the wind rustling the leaves, you scratching your leg, a car going by,” he lists.
“What was it like to lay there and listen?” I ask.
I’m not surprised. After all, he is fourteen. What mother makes her teenage son turn off Carrie and tune into birds and leaves?
He grins at me again, revealing blue and green banded braces.
“What’s the angle to this?”
I laugh and respond, “What do YOU think?”
“I know. To listen to God’s creation.” He’s still grinning.
“Now, why would I want you to do THAT?” I grin back.
“Because it’s good for us.”
“Yep. It’s good for us. God says to be still and know that He is God. Sometimes we get so used to turning on devices that we forget to tune into God. It’s good to stop, to be still, and to listen sometimes—to come to the quiet.”
“I get it,” he says, head nodding.
Then come a few more moments with God and my wonderful boy becoming man, side-by-side on beach towels under a tree listening to birds and bugs and leaves in breeze. And we give thanks for this.
A slice of heaven, right here on earth.