We all want a little peace and quiet in our lives.
Sometimes you realize that quiet doesn’t necessarily mean peace, though, especially in a world intent on bombarding us with distractions.
I drive half an hour to work each day. To help the time go by, I listen to a lot of podcasts, ranging from inspirational TED Talks to deep dives into the Bible. It makes the trip seem faster.
Usually, they start playing from my phone once I start my car on and get going. For whatever reason, earlier this week it didn’t start playing. It’s an easy enough fix to pull my phone out and press play.
For a change, I didn’t. I drove along to my destination, just listening to the car drive on the pavement.
I started really thinking. I thought about the day I’d just finished, and what could’ve gone better and what went well. I considered my interactions with the people around me, finding some faults in my own actions as I went through an examination of conscience.
Then I started thinking about why I don’t think like this more often. I contemplated that for a few days of noise-less car rides.
I realized something: Boredom wasn’t the reason I listened to podcasts on the way into fear. No, I was my own enemy on this one. I didn’t want to let my mind wander.
Instead, I let myself be distracted. The world is very good at distracting us, between shows on television, music on the radio and nonsense galore on the Internet.
Don’t misunderstand; we all need to be entertained. Joy is an important part of life. Sometimes the time you’re distracted by the world just isn’t very entertaining, though. It’s more of a march through time.
Why not take a little bit of that drudgery to let your mind wander?
I remember my first car, which was two years younger than me, didn’t have a radio. I had a boom box running on batteries sitting in the passenger’s seat, and I’d play mix tapes. Some of my best times in that car came when the batteries died on my way home from college, and I drove back from Athens with the my future on my mind.
I also remember a few years ago, I jokingly told my children I wanted peace and quiet for Father’s Day. They tried to oblige, giving me ear plugs.
The more I think of it, that only brought half of it, the quiet part. It’s up to us to find the peace.