The world we live in today is a paradox of note. I am sure many will agree with me when I say that today’s world is over-filled with NOISE. By noise I am not only referring to sounds, but but everything that surrounds us. Our days are filled with all kinds of noises – demands placed on us by others, the busyness of life, personal and relational issues, worry, cares, information and such like. Add to this the noise of sound (radio, TV, internet), from our homes to our cars, to shopping malls and elevators, outdoor parks and iPods, the noise simply doesn’t abate. No wonder we get tired!

Technology has ensured that we are surrounded with information at the click of a mouse or the slide of a finger, yet does little to help us process all of that. Information is not the problem, but the application of that information and the evolution of it into knowledge, understanding and ultimately wisdom, is. And within this technologically advanced atmosphere charges the paradox of ages… within this cloud of noise we find silence.

By silence I don’t mean the absence of sound, but rather the absence of real and valued connection. We have “friends” on social media platforms, we engage in “virtual relationships” and hide behind the screens of our so-called anonymous smart devices. But as quickly as we make “friends” we can make them “unfriended” as quickly as a click. I am all for technology, the Internet, the web and the latest smart gadgets, but I am more for a real, live, face-to-face conversation. I am more for live interaction, surrounded by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and chocolate cake, or the warm crackle from a fireplace that sporadically lights different aspects of the face I am looking at. I am more for the comfort of a warm touch, and the ability to hug away a friend’s tears.

But for many a virtual world is all they know, and are comfortable with. Our world is too noisy and too silent, all at the same time. However, we can make a change. We can turn noise into silence, and silence into noise, as, when and where required to cultivate lasting and loving relationships. I am reminded of the words of Simon & Garfunkel:

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs
That voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

Ready to tackle this paradox in your own circumstances? Are you ready to listen, not to form an appropriate reply, but to understand? Are you ready to really talk, not the regurgitation of a search engine response, but a deep and meaningful conversation? Are you ready to sing the songs of others, and allow others to sing your song? Are you ready to disturb the sound of silence?