“…for what we see has not its due influence upon us unless we consider it.”(1)
Matthew Henry, 17th century theologian, sure had that right! And I wonder how much more this is true as our society continues to speed up—we used to reference the fast pace of our culture by things like drive-thru restaurants instead of sit-down meals, microwaves in place of grandma’s oven.
Or maybe even push-button speed dial rather than the old fashioned rotary phone. What’s a rotary phone, one may ask? Similarly, I remember hearing a song over the radio and mentioning to my daughter that I used to have it on a “45”, to which she replied, “What’s a 45?”
Naturally, the frenzy is now even more widespread. We have instant-info with Twitter and Insta-gram, we have instant friends by “liking” someone on Facebook, and we have instant music downloaded
onto an MP3, and all of this anywhere and at any time. Not saying that all these things are particularly bad, (although many are exceptionally unhealthy or are used to ill purpose); they are, however, unquestionably pervasive. No waiting to get home from school to call a friend, no waiting on the record player arm to slowly swing over and land on the vinyl, no waiting…period.
Let’s face it, waiting is a B-O-R-E-D-O-M Monster!
Personally, I think there is an art to waiting. I’m not intrinsically very good at it, I confess, but like with any skill, practice makes, well, improvement if not perfect, in my case at least. I came into the world with a low boredom threshold. What’s the next project I can sink my teeth into, what’s the next new thing, what mundane activity can I turn into an adventure. It’s not that I don’t like quiet—I crave it actually, but it’s the waiting part that’s got me challenged. That old boredom thing starts rolling its eyes at me and gets impatient, whining at me to go DO something.
Always doing—without watching and paying attention to the moment—robs us of much of what God intends to communicate to us in this life and to prepare us for the next. Obviously, there are many activities that require our full attention. (Surgeon with scalpel in hand comes quickly to mind…) I wonder, however, that the more proficient we become at waiting in the silence, the more adept we may find ourselves at really “hearing and seeing” in the flow of daily chaos.
I am training my boredom beast to heel, similar to the beloved family dogs you will meet (among others) should you choose to continue reading. My boredom gives way to productive listening, thus allowing God’s massively creative communication to “have its due influence on me”.
I hope you can share this experience also. Thanks for reading! —dawnlizjones
(PS–If you’re interested in a few samples post, click HERE)
(1) Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible [ Psalms, pg. 267]