Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My Noisy Heart

I purchased this little book, Nurturing Silence in a Noisy Heart, on a whim at Half-Price Books just days before heading off to a personal retreat this past March. I mean, part of a retreat is about the silence, and so this title naturally grabbed my attention.

I often find myself craving peace and quiet. I thought I loved silence. What I did not realize is what a noisy heart I have - oh my! It never occurred to me that quiet does not equate with silence. I can be in a room by myself, or even in the most peaceful outdoor setting, and still quite a ruckus can be going on in my heart.

I really appreciated to the author's gentle, insightful style. Dr. Oates explains how to identify the noises in our heart, beyond the everyday noises and distractions in our physical surroundings. Things like trying to meet impossible demands and expectations of others, unwillingness to forgive ourselves and others, unhealthy competition and comparison, and status-seeking can clutter up our hearts. I also recognize my tendency to use my quiet times to give my thoughts free rein, to the point I swear I can hear them banging off each other in my head! I am seeing how important it is to truly be still at times, from the inside out. Meditating on a passage of scripture or a praise chorus seems to help combat this tendency. Another thing the author recommends is just learning to listen well . . . to others and what's going on around us. I think it's possible to quell the noises in our heart and cultivate a sense of silence that makes room for God, wherever we are.

Unfortunately, this book is out of print but I wanted to share just because the the realization that my own heart can be a noisy place was an eye-opener to me. This book was just one of those lucky little finds!