Finally everything was quiet. The guests for Carrie Anne’s baptism had gone home, and we could get that much needed rest.
And then that baby cried.
Another night walking the floor with our little girl who couldn’t be readily comforted except when she was rocked and held or was resting on her daddy’s warm chest.
I didn’t understand until much later that she also liked a noisy atmosphere when she slept. People talking and laughing. Vacuum cleaner roaring or TV blaring. All produced sound sleeping with that little one. Quiet night? No way! Ah…the trials and joys of parenting that first child.
I understood as a young mother how wonderful that maxim “Silence is Golden” could be. Now I didn’t adhere to that other well-known phrase, “Children should be seen and not heard.” Children have their valuable input into our daily life, after all. And too much silence can also signal something is amiss. Better check out what’s going on in their room or basement play area!
People who enjoy camping in the wilderness seek out silence… respite from the sounds of civilization… the traffic, the technology, the hum and buzz of daily life. There is no true escape from noise, however. Birds chirp, insects drone, trees whisper in the wind. In nature there is almost never a true silence, unless something is wrong.
There are other silences that aren’t good. The psalmist David spoke of the agony he was in because he kept silent about his sin and didn’t admit to God he was wrong (Psalm 32:3). Later in Psalm 39 he chided himself for remaining silent when he should have spoken up about injustice and wickedness. That too was the implied message in Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Sound of Silence.”
Ecclesiastes 3:7 reminds us that there is a time to be silent and a time to speak. When I’m not sure what to say, my silence could be considered wise or discerning. Better than opening my mouth and uttering foolish remarks just to join in or hear myself talk.
In music, tacet reminds the musician to keep quiet during a particular segment. But there is another “quiet” that carries a stronger meaning. If I give something my tacit approval, then it means I agree with what is said or is happening. I’d better choose my silences wisely!
In the white noise of daily life there is a constant buzz in my ears. I really don’t tune in to it. It’s just in the background… usually. But there are days when I long for, listen for, the silence… so I can hear what I need to hear. When I can join with the earth and keep silence before the Lord to pay attention to what He has to say to me (Habakkuk 2:20).
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Silent night, holy night. All is calm…
God was silent for almost four hundred years. He wasn’t giving his tacit approval to a world gone wrong…. a world that needed saving… that needed a Savior.
God was silent for almost four hundred years... and then that Baby cried!