Enough with the Quietness!

Holly Varni

April 27, 2022

Take time to be quiet. That was the main message of the sermon on Sunday. Apparently, the pastor thought the idea needed to introduced as if it was something unusual. “Be quiet,” he kept repeating. “Sit in stillness.” Well, anyone can do that. I do it daily. All it takes is for me to turn off the TV and go to bed. You can hear a pin drop.

I live in quietness most of the time. I’ve become accustomed to quietness, and I can’t say I’m a huge fan. Yes, there is wisdom to be learned in silence, blah, blah, blah. And yes, I agree that prayer time can be enriched and reveal wonderful perspective when we settle ourselves down and block out the outside world, but really, I’ve had my fill of peaceful moments.

I have so much quiet time that it lulls me to sleep during the day. That’s the true reason behind old folks taking naps and dozing off in their recliners. We’re not tired; we’ve just fallen asleep from the lack of sound and stimulation. One of the maladies of old age is that time drags on with quietness hanging on as its companion like the grim reaper. Have you ever noticed that none of the images of the grim reaper ever portray him as a chatty fellow who talks your ear off right until your last breath? It’s always eerie silence. That’s no coincidence.

Well, I say, “Enough with all the quietness!” I’ve had it with quiet mornings where the clink of the spoon in the cereal bowl can be heard; quiet afternoons where the rant from the TV offers the only voices that echo in the house; quiet evenings where the pulse of the crickets is my only interruption. I would appreciate a little chaos to shake things up. Old age shouldn’t carry with it a punishment of never-ending silence.

I want noise, big and small. Give me the sound of a clang and bang, chatter and clatter. I want the ruckus of little kids running around while adults are trying to talk. I want people talking over each other as they pat the back of a fussy baby. I want a teenager shouting my name from across the house. I want the laughter of friends sharing a meal. I want the racket that comes with a family living together and sharing a bathroom. I want silly giggling and every day chit-chat to be the music playing in the background. I want commotion to wake me up, and for my mind to be blasted with a symphony of sweet and blissful, random and rowdy sounds to remind me I’m alive.

I’m so fed up with all this quietness that has been imposed on and now suggested to me that I have the inclination and moxie to step outside my door and shout, “Hello! Is anyone there? Make some noise, world!” I’d keep shouting, too, until I got a response. The only problem is my neighbors would come running because they’d think I’d fallen and couldn’t get up, or I’d forgotten where I was because I’d lost my mind.

Feeling irritated, I stomped the best I could in my slippers to my husband and said, “I want to hear noise! Make some noise, you big ol’ lump!”

He stared at me before responding, “Hold on, give me a minute. I need to put in my hearing aids so I can hear what you’re prattling about now.”

I waited for him and then said, “I want noise in this house.”

“Noise?” he chuckled. “You make plenty of noise. Why do you think I keep taking my hearing aids out?”

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