So many words.
Commercials and news reports and internet access and blogs and tweets and text messages and Facebook.
All the words.
All the information.
All the time.
On one evening of our recent furlough, my husband asked me if I could have anything in the world on that particular evening what would I want and I replied simply, “Silence.”
He kindly carved out some space for me to enjoy silence that evening. It was bliss.
America is addicted to information. We love it. We crave it.
We love To Know.
We love it so much that we have begun to think of Knowing as a Right.
We sometimes assume The Knowing even in places and topics where we don’t have all the information.
Take the news for instance.
Reporters and commentators talk. A lot. They have minutes and segments and hours to fill. And so they do. With words.
Yes, they impart information. Facts and numbers. And pictures. (Have mercy-- the invasive pictures.)
But all the fact relaying can take a subtle shift. From probable cause to blame. From making people aware to causing fear. From fact to conjecture. From what would be understood as public domain to delving into the sacredly private.
Over time, I found it all very wearying. And many folks I talked to did too.
I have friends in America who never, NEVER watch the news.
I have friends who never watch TV at all.
Friends who aren’t on Facebook.
I even have friends who carry… Flip Phones. I know—drastic :).
When hearing their many reasons for these choices, some consistencies emerged.
The information and the acquiring of information had begun to control them. Govern their day and even their choices.
So they made important choices to reclaim and take back-- their time. And their opinion. And their thoughts.
They had to silence some things to rediscover their reality.
Instead of having their reality constantly shaped by the words swirling around them.
Silence is a valuable asset and these brave friends, choosing counter-culturally, reminded me of the beautiful value of living intentionally every day. And how difficult silencing the loud voices can be.
How we must choose what we hear.
It is from the swirling world of information that I landed at Psalm 19. Words I have memorized and sung since I was a child.
But, last Sunday, with the birds chirping and the rooster crowing. With the rain falling, and all the solar batteries dead, this familiar page in my Bible provided a fresh Word of Sanctuary. A reminder of respite.
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.”
Psalm 19: 1-4
The vast and deep and endless sky.
Perfect, unhurried, relevant, globally understood words.
“In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun…
It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.”
There is something more precious than pure gold.
Something sweeter than honey.
There are things that offer great reward.
They revive. And make wise. And give joy.
They radiate light. They are sure. They endure.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.”
In all the Knowing that we so dearly esteem and claim we can make the same subtle shift mentioned earlier. From enriching to depleting. From informing to misleading. From honest sharing to attention craving embellishing.
We can sometimes get it wrong.
But there remains, something Sure.
We don’t need many words to correct things. We need a Good Word.
“…of the LORD…”
We have ears made to hear. And we will be influenced by the information we take in.
But we can choose.
We can ask for help.
“Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Our attentions. Our allegiance may need to be redirected.
We may need to look up to hear.
The heavens are speaking.