by Michael Lane
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature -- trees, flowers, grass -- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls. - Mother Theresa
A few months ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Peter Bregman, wrote about his experience with the new iPad from Apple. To summarize, he spent about a week with it and then decided to return it, but not for the reasons you might expect. It was not broken or ineffective.
On the contrary, Peter decribed the iPad as being brilliant and he found that it was able, for the the most part, to do everything he wanted. So why did Peter return it? Because it's too good. He found himself reaching for it at all hours. Even worse, he found himself reaching for it at times when he should have been doing something else, such as sleeping or spending time with family.
I can relate. I don't own an iPad, but I do own an iPhone so I know first hand exactly what Peter is talking about. It's the first thing I reach for in the doctor's waiting room or while waiting for others to arrive to a meeting. That's reasonable, I suppose, but lately I've found myself reaching for it in the car at long red lights or when I'm watching television with my wife. That's not reasonable, and it's gotten me into some hot water.
The point Peter was trying to make is that we've lost our respect and desire for quiet, introspective thought. It's so easy to fill our minds with information or tap into entertainment that there is no longer a need to ever be without it - not in the car, not in our bedrooms, not even when we're camping or on vacation. Every moment of the day, regardless of where I am, I can check my email, watch a podcast, update Twitter or read the news. The vast majority of the time, there is not a single email, news story or social networking update that comes even close to affecting my life, but I read them all anyway. At the very moment when I sense that I am not listening to something, reading something or doing something, I instinctively reach out for anything that will occupy my mind and keep me from...well from what? Boredom? Silence? My own thoughts? Not being productive? I'm not sure, but I think it's some combination of these fears.
Up to this point, Peter and I agree completely. It's clear that many of us are addicted to filling our heads with worthless information and mindless entertainment whenever we sense that our minds are not completed engaged. When we do this, something very important is lost. However, Peter and I will diverge here when it comes to exactly what it is that we are really losing. His blog goes on to talk about the value of boredom, and the role that it plays in the creative process. I'm much more concerned with what all this is doing to our prayer time and our relationship with God.
From Delve into Jesus Ministries