This idea was given to me by one of my Profs during my Christian Spirituality class yesterday. She is amazing–and full of wisdom. I’ll probably say more about her later.
“If there is not noise outside of you–or around you–there is noise inside of you.”
Your in a classroom taking a test, in church praying with the congregation, waiting in line, eating at a restaurant. Doesn’t really matter where you are. You can hear it. *Sniff*
They’ve got a cold. It creeps up almost unexpected; you’re quietly minding your own business, doing what you’re doing…*SNIF!*Instantly your shoulders shrug a bit, head jerks at the sound and your whole body, your entire being, is caught off guard. You quickly get back to what you were doing, but are constantly interrupted by the sniff, the sneeze, or worse-the fog-horn nose blowing. You can’t escape that sound. It seeks you out; searches the quietest crevices of the planet and awakens every microbe to the chorus of germs resounding in that green-stained Kleenex.
And then, you gently lay your hands back down in your lap-exhausted from frustration…only to land them on a pile of tissues. You are “that sniffer.” You are the one disturbing the peace and quiet. The noise is not around you; it is within you.
When you try to sit still when you’ve got a cold, you begin to realize the impossibility of this task. Your body aches from uncomfortable wear and tear of being drowsy and lazy. Your lungs are compressed under the weight of the mucus and sticky flem clinging tightly. Your throat is clamped shut–making it nearly impossible for you to swallow anything, or allow anything useful or audible to come up from your scarred voice box. Your nose, not even the source of all this, is red and dripping a multi-colored art display onto your once snowy-white tissue. Your eyes are both itchy and water, yet scratchy and crusty. And your head. Pounding.
Forgetting the noise outside of you seems like an easy task when compared to the noise inside of you.
But, then you begin to suck on a cough drop. As it sits on your tongue you can barely swallow its essence into you. So you leave it. Let it work on you, and through you. You begin to feel the effervescence lifting up to your nose and head relieving the tension and opening you up. As you carefully swallow, it gently and thickly flows down the back of your throat coating all the friary soreness burning inside. It winds its way down to your lungs where it begins to wash away the filth that has been holding on. You breath in. For the first time in awhile, you are able to breathe a just a tiny bit deeper.
As you breathe out, however, you realize it was just one cough drop–and you almost choke as the “noise” from inside of you comes sailing out in all directions.
It’s no secret, we are full of noise. Sometimes, we become so noisy, just like having a cold, everyone around us can tell. When we try to sit and quiet ourselves the noise outside us is no comparison to the noise we find inside us.
Still, we sit and try to quiet our insides. We begin to meditate on the word of God. No, no-no chewing. This is a cough drop. You must let it work in you, and through you. all. the. way. Contemplate a passage and think about a phrase, dwell on a sentence–a word. Soak it all up and carefully swallow it down. Savor. Every. Drop. Follow it down as it moves through your throat, your lungs. Breathe in- a little bit deeper.
Realize though, one cough drop cannot eradicate our cold. Neither can a one-time 15 minute meditation erase all the noise in our life. So, we keep going back for more.
Have you ever smelled someone’s breath after they’ve been sucking on a cough drop? You can usually tell. It soaks through and over powers your breath and stays with you even after the little thing is gone. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
Have you ever met someone who has sat in the presence of God–who has let the word of Christ dwell richly? You can usually tell.
This spiritual journey we are on is not about 10 easy steps, a quick fix, or a sprint medley. We take small steps over and over. We struggle-together and with one another. And we let the word of God work through us, and in us. We are changed and transformed. Not quickly- or even just once. But beautifully, messy, and together.