It’s 4:00 in the morning. I am awake, up, and writing what you are now reading. I don’t want to be up this early, yet here I am, wide awake and rambling with my thoughts.
I think I may have been in my early 30s before I ever got up this early. In my youth, probably like most youth, I thought 4:00 or 5:00 o’clock only came in the afternoon. I remember hearing older people talk about getting up before daylight. I thought they were kidding. Then I thought they were bragging. Now here I am…well, you know. I’ve often heard it said that the early bird gets the worm. Well, I’m not a bird, so I normally have no desire to get a worm, unless I’m going fishing. I had just as soon go back to bed and sleep some more, but sleep ran off and wouldn’t come back!
I’m awake this early, because I’m not young anymore. That sometimes happens to people my age. It has been at least a couple of years since I was 30 something! Jean is not in her 30s either, but she is younger than me. She is also awake and sitting here in the room with me. Actually, she does this more than I do.
One thing I love about being up this early is how peaceful it is. Everything is still and amazingly quiet. I don’t hear any traffic from the streets. The only sound I hear is a slight ringing in my ears, but wait, now I hear the faint whistle of a train in the distance. I always find that interesting since the nearest train track to my house is a couple of miles away. During the day, I never hear the train because there are so many other sounds that drown it out. We don’t seem to get a lot of quietness these days. It seems to me that we are much busier than we used to be (at least in pre-covid days we were), and our world is much louder.
As the sun goes up, so does the noise level. In a little while, my coffeemaker will kick on. I set it for 5:45 each morning. In the stillness, it will seem terribly loud as it strains to squeeze out that black wake-up juice that my body craves. Somewhere around that same time the birds outside will begin their morning chorus of calls. Oh, the air conditioner just kicked on. I will turn on the television soon to hear the bad news for the day, but mainly to see the weather forecast. As the day progresses, the quietness fades away and noise will surround us.
I remember as a kid, listening to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons sing “Silence is Golden.” An old Arabic proverb dating back to the 9th Century said, “Speech is silver, silence is golden.”
In our modern- day society we don’t seem to think so, but there is something special about silence. Some of what fills our ears is little more than garbage. Noise is one of the many pollutants that fill our world.
In Ecclesiastes 3:7, Solomon said, “There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” I think that may be what Mama meant when she said, “It is time to hush.”
Silence is indeed golden, and sometimes something to be treasured. We should find time to be still, to be silent, and to listen, especially to the voice of God. If we can get quiet long enough to hear what he has to say, it is always worth hearing.
— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.