Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Soup and Solitude

The aroma of homemade soup spread itself around my house yesterday as I made the first batch of the season. It was one of those let's see what I can find to put in this without going to the store kind of vegetable soup. Luscious, if I do say so myself!

Brandon's description of the stations at his praise team retreat made me want to participate. The noisy room was a good idea. My topic last Sunday was silence and solitude. I read somewhere that we are bombarded by as many as 3,000 advertising message a day. How does one get around that? What is the most obnoxious noise in your life? Someone in the class said the beeping sounds machines make as they are backing up. My contribution was loud TV commercials with raucous music.

How does one get around that? Only intentionally. The intentional twist of the wrist as one turns off the TV and radio (both at home and in the car), the purposeful setting up of a place away from the main area of the house where one can be quiet. Nancy Hutchinson said that John Wesley's mother (Susanna, I think) had a special chair where she sat and pulled her apron over her head. When her many children saw her there, they knew she was not to be disturbed!

Richard Foster suggests taking "little solitudes" like getting up before anyone else and spending quiet time in the kitchen with your cup of coffee, or finding a park for your lunch. I have another friend who sets up shop in a rural cemetery when he needs quiet time. My friend David Wray (who lives outside of Abilene) does not turn on the radio on his way to ACU. Instead, he uses that time to pray and meditate. That is not always possible in heavy traffic, however. Alexander Campbell had a very special study built outside his home (octagonal shape) with shelves for all his books and room for only one person, him. We build bonus rooms, theater rooms, wine cellars, and glass porches on our homes--why not build a place of solitude?

What do you do to turn off the noisy world?

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