Is Silence a Disease?

Having spent a large chunk of time in doctors’ waiting rooms lately, I’ve come to a conclusion: society is noisy. TVs and radios dominate waiting areas – with mostly annoying programming – and make it nearly impossible to think. I found myself wishing I owned an mp3 player to drown it all out. (Seems ironic – drowning out noise with more noise.)

It’s almost as if silence is a disease and we fear exposure.

Working as a church musician, I’ve found there are times when a communion hymn ends before communion does. If there’s not enough time to start a new hymn or really noodle around, there can be a brief period of silence in the church and the congregation’s reaction is predictable: uncomfortable restlessness. Coughing and fidgeting, the worshipers create their own noise in the absence of mine.

When I was a new musician, I would feel guilty about those moments. I didn’t want people feeling uncomfortable during worship and surely I wasn’t doing my job if I wasn’t making some sort of racket. But as I became more experienced, I realized an occasional silence in worship is a good thing. How else can we hear God’s voice unless we are quiet first?

Music has moments of silence; we call them rests. And just as rests keep notes from running amok, moments of silence keep us in sync.

Enjoy a quiet moment today.


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