quiet

Four | Current Events

It’s 48 degrees right now in Kirkland. I just put the heavy duvet on my bed, threw on a few extra layers of clothing, and cranked up the heater. It’s cold.

And it’s cold all of a sudden. I was only just talking about the beautiful changing of seasons mere days ago, and I thought we’d take our time to ease nicely into fall. But here we are, very cold by early October.

But it’s fitting. Most of life seems to be bouncing from one extreme to another. It’s like a constant state of whiplash—work, interpersonal relationships, online channels, the media. It’s all noisy, and sometimes, it’s deafening. It’s hard enough to live in the noise of one, but most of us live in the noise of all of it. Every single day.

And we’re making ourselves insane.

The constant barrage of information forces us to continually filter through and make snap decisions about what is and isn’t reliable at any given moment, and all of us hurling our opinions and gut reactions back and forth online like we’re the rightest person who ever lived, is incredibly damaging to reputations and relationships we supposedly care about. But it’s also damaging to ourselves because we’re training ourselves to be dishonest on a regular basis.

“If you disagree with me, you can just unfriend me.”

This how we’re going to handle our disagreements from here on out? So much ego and so little love, let alone concern for truth. No, not his truth or her truth—the actual truth. The actual truth that’s sometimes uncomfortable to sit in. The one where we don’t get to make assumptions or go with our gut. And if that’s the truth we’re after—the really true truth—we should all be a little bit disturbed right now. Because the really true truth is that there’s a lot we do not know.

And what we don’t know can definitely hurt us.

I feel the noise more and more every day. Between the fifty decisions I make in a given workday, to the desire I feel to keep up with friends and family through phone calls, emails, and texting, to the media’s constant firehose of content that all needs a discerning eye, to the books I’m trying to devour (and the distractions that constantly pull me away), to the friends online with whom I’d like to be able to have a reasonable conversation without someone storming out in a fit. And all of these things are amplified by our devices and thousands upon thousands of notifications vying for our attention. The Portlandia technology loop is for real. I could drown in it.

I worry about the kids growing up in this. I’m worried they’ll never know what it’s like to sit quietly in any given moment long enough to dwell on good, true, and beautiful things, whether they are comfortable or uncomfortable.

Silence. Knowing when to speak and when to shut up. You can say a lot by being silent. You can also become guilty by being silent. Wisdom is supposed to help you know the difference. But if we can’t be quiet long enough to think and make wise decisions about when to do either, something is wrong.

I long to be able to sit in quiet moments more than I ever have before.

I love my computer, and I love my iPhone, but they’re relentless and impersonal. Sometimes I feel like I should just throw them all away and get back to being a real human. How about you? 

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Beka is the Director of Lifecycle Marketing at a hypergrowth startup serving churches and nonprofits. In her free time, you can find her gardening, crafting, reading, traveling, throwing dinner parties, writing, playing board games, watching films, building LEGO cities, and/or drinking fancy bourbon cocktails.