In his wonderful book, New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton says the following:

“… every expression of the will of God is in some sense a ‘word’ of God and therefore a ‘seed’ of new life. The ever-changing reality in the midst of which we live should awaken us to the possibility of an uninterrupted dialogue with God.”

One recent morning, I opted to pray on my back porch, where I was bombarded with the sounds of a busy summer day. Applying Merton’s insight, I chose to hear those sounds not as a distraction but as ‘words’ of God that became an integral part of my prayer. And so, I came to understand that sometimes the voice of God sounds like…

The chirping of birds, the barking of a neighbor’s dog, a rush of wind, the distant laughter of children at play, the “noise” testifying to human ingenuity…

The footfalls of a loved one approaching, the words “I understand” spoken compassionately by a friend…

The yawn of a stranger on the train, music, a whispered “I love you”…

A trickle of water, the buzz of an insect, a cry for justice…

A sigh of relief, pages turning in a treasured photo album, silence…

Your neighbor puttering in his yard in the cool of the day, the far-away slamming of a screen door, a mother calling her children home for lunch, the whistle of a tea kettle…


What a consolation to know that God will not be silent today!

4 thoughts on “Noise?

  1. larry farrell

    If that would make the sound of power lawn mowers enjoyable
    (all our neighbors have a half acre of grass and they seem to start mowing as soon as another stops mowing)
    I’ll be forever grateful.

  2. Florence

    Hello friend,
    This sounds like a more recent post, Did you Hear. I enjoyed the different “noises “ and can add countless more myself.

    1. sdalton43 Post author

      Florence, thank you for visiting and for noticing the similarity between the two essays. Noise? was borne of prayer and was one of my earliest posts, i.e., it was posted when the blog was very little known. In all, including your viewing, it has only been read 16 times in 8+ years. I wrote Did You Hear? as a prayer-inspired expansion of the original piece because I think it important to recognize God’s voice in creation. Your sense that you could add countless more “noises” to my list is precisely the response I was hoping for. Thank you for taking the time to write. Blessings, – Steve


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