Day 15: Loud voices
I declared yesterday a personal health day. As you may have noticed, I haven’t blogged as regularly as in past 30 Days experiments. That’s because the last two months I have been working three jobs. Yeh. Not exactly the life of a contemplative. I am a part time resource consultant, a spiritual formation director and I have had speaking engagements almost every weekend in February and March. So, yesterday, with nothing on my calendar (except a hair appointment, which I would NEVER miss!), I declared a personal health day, or “Beth” day, as I often call it.
The whole point of a “Beth” day is to let my heart lead me toward whatever sounds good, sounds soul renewing. So, after my all-important hair appointment, I spontaneously called my son to see if he would like to go to lunch. (Did I mention that Brandt’s wife, Laura, is my stylist. Lucky her, right--having her mother-in-law for a client!) Brandt met me for lunch with our grandson, Eli, which is a big reason why my heart prompted me to make this call. Eli totally fills my heart with joy and refreshment.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived at Paradise Bakery was how loud it was. I sat waiting for Brandt and was almost deafened by the clamor of human voices echoing all around me. It wasn’t a pleasant sound but one I found myself wanting to get away from. When Brandt arrived, thankfully, we moved outside where it was more quiet.
After lunch, I headed to a favorite walking path that follows along a canal. Ahhhh….quiet, finally, except for the fact that it was a lovely spring day and there were many people walking on the path, often with a friend. Every time someone would pass me, my reverie was interrupted with loud voices.
Next, I decided to pop into the Indianapolis Art Museum. As I walked from the parking lot into this fabulous building, I thanked God for such an amazing gift—all free to the public. I started on the third floor with contemporary art. It didn’t really do it for me. Then I went to the American art floor and found more that drew my heart. As I positioned myself on a bench to absorb a particular painting, in walked a three-some who seemed to follow me the rest of my time. One of the persons, a female, had a particularly loud voice. Every time she saw a painting, she had the same reaction: “Oh, look at this one. I like this one. Isn’t it cool?” (Okay, so I thought to my self, “Surely you have a more elaborate vocabulary to describe your reaction to this masterpiece?!" I was a little cynical at this point.)
My last stop was a favorite coffee shop—where I actually had a glass of red wine. I chose a sunny spot, sat with my journal from this last year, reading through the pages, asking God to show me where I have been, where He has been with me over these last months. Sitting next to me was another women—another loud woman. She was talking on her phone to her parents. Sweet. But her voice was so loud!
If you haven’t discovered by now, my hearing experiment centered on picking up the piercing sound of human voices. As I reflect on this, I realize how distracted I am by the voices of people, unable to filter them like I might filter other sounds. Is that because they are my species? Is it because I am nosey and can’t help but hear what they say? Is it because they speak in a language I understand?
The human voice is a penetrating sound of which I contend every day. Sometimes, I need to not. I need to not hear people and just hear birds or water or wind. But for whatever reason, though yesterday felt like one of those days, it wasn’t to be. So, I finally gave in, talked to the woman next to me after she got off her cell phone. Heard all about her African Gray—a bird. (Don’t ask me how we got on the subject.) And then I came home and welcomed the quiet.