Last week Sarah and I embarked on a journey that most Americans our age have never experienced at home - a week without tv. No ESPN to fill up my morning coffee. No reruns of the West Wing. No Office. No Biggest Loser. No Heroes. Nothing but silence in the house.
I've never done a true fast before. Last year for Lent I gave up sodas for forty days. That's the closest I've ever come to a fast. I do not know whether or not this particular fast would be harder than food (I assume not), but the first two days were difficult. It's kind of like removing yourself from caffine for a couple of days. Your whole body asks what are you doing? My morning routine was thrown off. What would I do?
I read three books last week besides my normal studying for Sunday and Wednesday's sermons. Two of them were on spiritual disciplines - The Spirit of Disciplines by Dallas Willard and Finding Our Way Again by Brian McClaren (Both are excellent. Willard is a much deeper/theological read, but McClaren explains well why the disciplines or practices as he calls them are important for the common person).
In silence you are forced to think deeply about myself. I found out I had idols that I never knew exsisted. I found out that I have a fear of failure, and that I use TV as a way to escape these fears. In the silence, I was able to listen. The story that kept popping into my mind was the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel - "the sound of sear silence."
The silence allowed Sarah and I to reconnect in a way that we had not in a while. Our conversations were not drowned out by flickering pixels. We played games. We laughed. We took care of our dog. We listened.
It's amazing how much silence refreshes the soul. We live in a busy world (even out here in Mertens). We live in a disconnected world, even with the advent of twitter and facebook. Maybe we should disconnect our electronics more and let the silence, laughter, face to face, and deep thinking and praying make us whole again.