"I knew a Homeschooling family when I was young. I always thought they were... well... weird." Mom smirks at me from the couch and I chuckle at her honesty. "Not weird in a bad way. Just - their house... they were like you. No TV and all that. Their house was just so quiet. I remember thinking it was really different - strange."
I know exactly what Mom is talking about. That unplugged quiet. When my husband and I decided to toss our TV about five years ago, it took us awhile to get used to. However, within a few months of going TV-free, I couldn't stand being in a room where the box was blaring. I literally couldn't think straight.
And I often wonder if that's how most of our culture lives - with the inability to focus. We are a culture obsessed with distraction. It's why I call a lot of media "Weapons of Mass Distraction". We are so accustomed to entertainment, to always having something to watch, something to listen to, something to fall into and zone out with.
These days, the average teen uses five media devices at one time. They'll be listening to their iPod, watching TV, surfing the web, sending texts on their cell, and talking on the home phone all at once. And when media is made to sell products and encourage humans to crave the continual material upgrade, how is our obsession with screens contributing to our inability to find joy and peace? Everything is awry. And we wonder why so many people cannot feel, cannot engage and cannot love?!
It's like Neil Postman said,
...we are entertaining ourselves to death.
Death because we cannot find peace in the quiet. We cannot just be. We don't know who we are, so we are not comfortable with ourselves. The quiet home is an eerie one. The TV-free, rambling-free, mind-clutter-free home is the one that makes most feel uneasy. It should be the other way around, but it isn't. We are living in a topsy-turvy culture. Busy, mindless noise is common place. Ridding your home of it is, well, weird.
But, if we cannot find comfort in quiet, how do we find God? How can we hear His voice when all our senses are crowded with the clatter of pop-culture mayhem?
How do we still ourselves long enough to even think? To wonder who we are, what we are doing here, and where our Creator is in all this mess? To read. To write. To drink up the time we have with our children, our spouse, our friends. To talk. To actually engage with the people around us and this amazing world God created - instead of staring at a box of lies.
I wonder if our culture fears solitude. Do people honestly fear quiet? Maybe it's the uncertainty of what we might discover if we take time to just be. Be still. Be humbled. Be taught. Be spoken to. Be intimate. Be vulnerable. Because the quiet is vulnerable, isn't it?
The quiet is this big wide open space we feel needs filling.
But, what if the filling is the problem?
It's when we relax and choose to un-entertain ourselves that the real, life-changing, love-inspiring movement takes place. The God-discoveries and self-meetings. The stuff that just can't transfer from blinking screen to human heart. It's the eternal sweetness that happens in the quiet.
Once you embrace it, you crave it. The quiet is no longer weird, it is home.