This summer, I was ready for a break after a tough year. I longed for quiet and solitude. I needed to step away from the frantic pace of life in ministry. One simple thing helped me accomplish it all: I turned off the ringer on my smartphone.
Normally, I have my phone set up so that it emits a chorus of small sounds. A blip says my kids are texting me. A chime says I have an email waiting. A short beep alerts me to a Facebook message. And then, of course, there is the jazzy ring for phone calls when someone wants to talk and the song that sings when someone wants to facetime.
Those little sounds come out of my phone at all hours of the day and night. But not this summer. This summer, with none of those sounds, days feel quieter even when I have lots to do. I get to choose when to look at my phone and when to respond. I can thin the carrots uninterrpted or harvest cucumbers in peace. None of my converations are paused while I glance over at my screen and say, “I just have to answer this…”
Many religious traditions include the practice of keeping silence. Sadly, many of us in those traditions forget that it is a practice worth keeping. When I stay at the guest house with the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, for example, I soak in the silence and let it revive my soul. The problem is that I only stay there for a few days once or twice a year. The rest of the time my ears are full of life’s cacophony.
As I revel in the fresh silence coming from my phone, I wish you some silence, too. Maybe you can turn off your ringer. Or turn off the TV. Or take the ear phones out of your ears, even for just a moment or two.
May you find a little time to rest in a quiet hush this summer.