“What’s it gonna take to slow us down 
to let the silence spin us around? 
What’s it gonna take to drop this town? 
We’ve been spinning at the speed of sound. 

If we’re adding to the noise 
turn off this song 
If we’re adding to the noise 
turn off your stereo, radio, video”

-Switchfoot, “Adding to the Noise”

 

My commute to work in North Carolina ranged from 5-10 minutes, depending on traffic. On hot/cold days the car was just about to cool down/warm up as I pulled into the parking lot. My commute is now 25-55 minutes, depending on traffic.

Not long after we moved, I realized that I was full of rage and frustration when I walked in the door to our apartment. My saintly husband would bear the wrath of my complaints about the dirty kitchen or the cluttered living room, but even I knew it wasn’t the clutter or the mess. I didn’t catch on until HE drove home one day from church during rush hour and got really frustrated; it was then I realized it was the traffic that was affecting my mood and that I was taking my frustrations out on him.

I had been listening to various radio stations on the way home, either progressive talk radio or an alternative rock station, but after this new discovery, I decided to try some deep breathing techniques during my commute. Or, to do something to take my mind off the traffic, like talk to my mom on the phone (at least until this January when that became illegal).

I forgot exactly when I started it, but it’s been at least six months now. I don’t turn on the radio, because whatever is on the radio just “adds to the noise,” the chaos and turmoil that is rush hour traffic. I breathe deep, enjoy the scenery, and open my senses to God’s presence with me. It is in those moments that I get the best ideas. When I stop talking, turn off distractions, and allow the Spirit to speak. And it’s also in those moments that I experience peace.

When I get home from work now, I am not full of rage and frustration, but of joy and peace. And that’s what I’m able to share with my family when I walk in the door.

 

What is the noise around you that is keeping you from experiencing peace? How would others be affected if you “turn off the noise?”

 

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