Friday, January 8, 2016

Unquiet Disposition

The Inn at Half Mile Farm ~ Highlands, NC

"We have in our hearts what disposes us to be unquiet; 
therefore let us study to be quiet." 
- Matthew Henry


You know (or perhaps, vaguely remember) how the morning after a loud concert you'd wake up with your ears ringing loudly?  Filled wit so much residual noise that you could almost feel it, still?  The bass thumping, guitars buzzing...

Yea.  Leaving social media has been somewhat like that

Only the ringing is not in my ears, it's in my mind.  

Growing up, my parents kept the television on in our home every day from about six in the evening to ten o'clock sharp.  It was, for them, habitual I suppose.  We didn't watch it during dinner, but it was left on, a steady stream of noise coming from across the living room.  At ten o'clock, they clicked it off, locked the doors and went to bed.  This was there routine.  Every night for as long as I can remember.   I imagine even long after I'd moved out.  

One of my best friends in high school didn't have a television in their home at all.  By choice, or rather, by virtue - and I loved going to their house.  In fact, it was my favorite.  A peaceful stillness enveloped you when you walked through the door.  It was so very quiet and cozy in a way that made you want to grab a book, a blanket and a cup of tea and curl up in the window seat and read or just stare out the window into their backyard.  

I can't remember the last time I wanted to sit and stare at anything.  The ocean maybe, but how many times have I even done that lately without posting a photograph of it on Instagram?  I've been living an interrupted life; interrupted by all of the wrong things.  And I've become so accustomed to the interruptions, disruptions and distractions that I'm finding it difficult to adapt to these long periods of silence, without hearing from and engaging with others; without the incessant need to share and document my every moment, regardless of how trite or insignificant.   

There is just so much noise.  This is what I told my husband when I'd told him about my decision to take an extended break from social media.  Like the television constantly streaming in my childhood, I think I had somehow adapted and grown accustomed to the noise of social media in my life, not realizing how loud, or how constant, it had become.

Until I stopped.

I've found myself a little dizzy and disoriented, not completely unlike when you'd spin around and around and around as child and suddenly stop.  You were still, but everything around you was still moving.  Spinning.  Blurry.  

And I keep thinking about the scripture I read yesterday:  
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Matthew Henry, in his commentary on this verse, said we must study to be quiet.  And he said this at the beginning of the eighteenth century.  How much more has our unquiet disposition grown over the last three hundred or so years.  How much more then, must we study and learn and make it our ambition to quiet our lives?   He went on to say:  
"Those who are busy-bodies, meddling in others' matters, have little quiet in their own minds...They seldom mind the other exhortation, to be diligent in their own calling, to work with their own hands. Christianity does not take us from the work and duty of our particular callings, but teaches us to be diligent therein." 
These words were published in 1706, but how much more timely are they today?  And of course, how timeless and timely are Paul's words to the Thessalonians - and to us - this beckoning to quiet ourselves for the sake of pursuing our calling.  

Admittedly, I've had little quiet in my own mind - and I long for the quiet there, I long to be diligent in my own calling and to work with these hands.

Our diligence becomes lost in distraction.

The pursuit of our calling becomes lost in the noise - and we don't even realize it.  It becomes soft hum, a white noise of sorts, one that so often lulls us to sleep, and to complacency...

We don't stop to stare, to take it all in;
we don't look out of our windows, or up, or within.


"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10

2 comments:

  1. I have loved the posts you've written this week. On fleek! ;)

    ReplyDelete