It’s the day before Christmas Eve, and it’s still dark outside. Hatch and I got up early anyway to watch the sun come up and enjoy the sounds of Christmas.
The house is so quiet that we could even hear the sound of a train rumbling through town several miles away. Hatch’s ears perk up and he looked at me and asked, “What is that noise?” I told him that on a clear morning like this one, sound travels far and what he was hearing was the beautiful sound of a train.
That got me thinking about all the noises that make up the soundtrack of our lives. The sounds of life are so common that they blend into the background but they are so distinct that they almost define life itself. Sounds like the cries of a newborn baby or the roar of a crowd in a football stadium have the ability to invoke deep human emotions. Sometimes sounds can be so quiet that they’re almost distinct and then can be too loud and make the listener put his fingers in his ears. Sound is music to my ears.
I was telling Hatch about some of my favorite sounds and he was telling me about some of his, so we came up with this list:
Some of our favorite sounds:
10. The opening notes to a familiar song like Beethoven's Fifth. Those first four notes sounds like fate knocking at the door.
9. The voice of someone in a sincere prayer. We still memorize and quote the Lord’s Prayer from 2,000 years ago. It echoes through the centuries.
8. The turning of a page in a well loved book. This experience involves sight, touch, smell and sound all in a single moment. But maybe more than anything it invokes the human imagination.
7. The joy of laughter in a room full of family. They may be reliving childhood memories or laughing at a perfectly delivered joke but the sound of laughter in a family reminds you that everything is OK.
6. The faint sound of someone walking down the hall. Curious that we can distinguish one person’s gait from another and if you know them well enough you know the sound of their walk.
5. The sound of sleep. When all five of our kids were still at home, the gentle breathing that hung in the night air would capture my imagination and cause me to wonder what they were dreaming about.
4. The sounds of a gentle creek. One cabin in the mountains that we returned to often had a porch that hung out over a continually flowing creek and we would sit out late at night in the dark and listen to the sounds of the waters washing over the rocks.
3. The cheer of victory. The spontaneous noise that people make when a battle ends in victory is as inspiring as the win itself.
2. Trains that rumble through the night. When I was eight years old our farmhouse burned to the ground and my dad moved us into an apartment in town and in the backyard of our new home was the train tracks. I would lay in bed at night as a little boy and listen to the locomotive pass by and fall asleep to the rhythm of the train cars.
1. Silence. Without silence none of the sounds of life have any meaning. A great orator knows the power of silence in his speech. Music is more about the silence between the notes that the notes themselves. Maybe that’s why the Bible refers to the voice of the Lord as a “still small voice”.
I Kings 19:11-12
And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
Listen to the sounds…