Walking the dusty road in Mexico that was fit for only foot traffic, horseback riding, or slow moving vehicles, I came upon some farmers farming their farm. One man was plowing with a team of two horses, manhandling the two handles of the plow as the horses pulled it through the rocky soil. Two other men were sowing seed on the plowed part, holding a container of seed in one hand and casting forth the seed with the other.
I was surprised by the observation that came to me: the three men and two horses worked in virtual silence! There was only the sound of silence as my feet traipsed along on the soft dusty path, passing the men working the field.
Within a minute I met another farmer on the dirt road, driving his tractor to a field. The noise of the tractor’s engine intruded brash and loud on the quiet landscape.
The contrast prompted me to yearn for a return to the pre-industrial age. I know that can’t happen, and I really don’t want to give up planes, trains, automobiles, and a host of other inventions of the last 200 or so years. Nevertheless, the three farmers and two horses versus the one man and his tractor got me to thinking about the value of silence.
So much of our modern living is accompanied by noise pollution. Cities are noisy with vehicles, suburbs with lawnmowers and rural areas with the aforementioned tractors.
Construction used to be accomplished with nothing louder than a hammer, chisel, saw, and the human shouts and grunts of people doing a big task together. Modern construction generates noise from large engines powering big machines.
Yes, the world has changed into a noisy place, but we humans have not changed in what we need, and what we need is some silence! The good news is that we all have some God-given control over our own lives, and we can be intentional about putting some silence into our lives.
We don’t have to have the TV, radio, mp3 player or other sound producing devices on all the time. We can choose to sit, walk, or even drive quietly for a short period of time. This is good to do because silence is good for the soul! If there’s too much noise most of the time we can’t hear ourselves think or hear from God who, as big and awesome as He is, prefers to whisper rather than shout when seeking to communicate with us.
Silence is golden. We are the richer when we embrace that truth!
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)