When you have tinnitus there is a constant ringing in you ear. Every minute of every day and night I hear a high pitched tone in the background. It’s best described as the noise old fashioned televisions would make when turned on. If you walked into a TV store three or four decades ago you would hear the high pitched whine of a wall full of televisions and that is what every room sounds like to me. And here’s one important thing: the quieter the room, the louder the noise in my ear. So by day I like a radio on and at night I like to have a fan on or a window open or something if possible. So I’m not used to silence. Absolute silence damages my calm.
Back at my old house I was about 300 yards from a freeway. That provided constant background noise. My old work was even closer to that freeway and even indoors that background noise was there. It wasn’t until I started my new job on relatively quiet Bryant Street that I noticed how calming the background freeway noise had been. My first evening at work got quiet. Inside and even outside was peaceful. So quiet in fact that I began to feel panic at the lack of background noise. The ringing in my ears seemed louder than ever.
So last evening I was pondering out loud what I might compose for the blog I post every Monday morning. I have a few stories of my childhood still tucked away. I could write about my kids or my cat or how much I love my wife. But even if I don’t act like I care that people read this, it really does matter to me and three paragraphs of how pretty she is and how good the biscuits were she made for supper and a lot of personal stuff might get tiresome. So last evening I was doing something I’ve never done which is, as I said, pondering aloud what to write.
Prajna suggested I consider writing about the present rather than the past. As she tried to explain it I thought she meant write about what happened to me that day. I told her that I had chronicled events right after they happened like my road trip to Big Bear with the young boys, my near miss driving home from work one night and most recently picking oranges.
Prajna tried to explain to me that she meant what God was trying to show me each day. Not that there was anything wrong with writing about the magic of a whale breech 14 years ago but that was the past. What am I experiencing and getting from God each day now?
As she tried to explain this two of my boys pounded though the room yelling and chasing. I apologized that I didn’t hear her because I was distracted. She said that was exactly what she was trying to explain. And the information I needed was lost because I was distracted.
While it’s okay to try to drown out my tinnitus with background noise I tend to drown out something more important with other distractions. I tend to keep my thoughts constantly racing. I am always thinking about something in the past or something I wish would happen or how I will set out my tasks at work next time. It goes on and on. Like a freeway in the distance there is continuous background noise in my head. And I’m afraid that if I turn it off the silence will be terrifying. But behind that silence what kind of direction or instruction might I get? What could be pointed out to me to observe and learn from? And I don’t know if it’s that communication I’m afraid of or not. I think it’s more the silence surrounding it that makes me feel alone. But that silence might just be necessary. I must be there to purge the distractions.
If this is the direction I should go then my blog should reflect it. By me posting this today I leave my comfort zone and state that there is something I ought to do and readers should know if I don’t.
My task now is to relax that tightly woven part of my mind. Turn down the distractions and listen to the silence for a Still Small Voice.