The window I’m looking out of today – or maybe I should say looking into today – is my computer screen which means it is Windows. If your desktop is anything like mine it’s probably covered with icons. I have Word documents, file folders, program short cuts and more all sitting on my desktop. I try to clean up the desktop about once every two months. However, it never takes long to fill it up again.
Looking closer at Windows – especially along the task bar – I have a number of quick launch icons for programs I use on a regular basis. Those programs of course open more windows and then even more windows. One opens Outlook which is usually full of emails to be read or responded to. Inside Outlook there’s my Task List which always has something on it and I can’t forget my calendar filled with appointments. Then with another click of a mouse button my web browser appears and yet I find myself looking at a number of windows to the world I can look into. There’s newsfeeds, Facebook, Twitter and more all screaming for my attention!
Now turning to actually look out my window, I’m open to another vast array of objects screaming for my attention. On this particular day there’s the neighbour shoveling the sidewalk. One person walks by with a slice of pizza in his hand obviously hurrying to his lunch destination. Cars stream by, snowplows scrape by and there’s even the flashing lights and sound of a passing police car. No matter what window I look out of, there’s something pulling my attention toward it, while at the same time pulling my attention away from writing this very article.
So, what’s my point in all of this? The world today is filled with noise and somehow we need to pull away from the noise, so we can find not only quiet, but also peace and rest. Stress levels are high, blood pressure is high and sleepless nights abound. In the midst of it all, many people are looking for a way to maybe not totally get off the merry-go-round, but at least slow it down and stop the ride for a few moments.
Earlier this past year I came off the morning radio show. This also ended what was an approximate 10 to 12 year cycle of rising every morning between 3 and 4am to be on the air by 6am. Many people asked if I missed doing mornings, or even better, asked me if I enjoyed sleeping in. Much to their surprise my response was simple – I continue to rise early. But now instead of rushing out the door with a travel mug full of coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other, I quietly go into our prayer room. I still have a coffee mug in one hand, but now I also have a devotional book or the Bible in my other hand. Starting the day in prayer, helps to quiet my soul so I’m ready to head out the door with a sense of peace that only comes from God.
In Matthew 21 we find the account of Jesus “clearing the temple” in what many people refer to as “righteous anger”. Some scholars say Jesus was mad because of the many vendors making money inside the temple. However, when looking closer at the passage another lesson soon rises to the surface. After clearing out the people who were buying and selling Jesus declared “It is written that My house will be called a house of prayer”. This passage is less about vendors making money and more about quieting the surrounding noise and instructing people about prayer.
There are many distractions around us every day filling our lives with noise. There’s an old saying that goes like this – “No God, no peace. Know God, and know peace”. Are you looking for peace in a noisy world? Maybe it’s time to clear the house of the noise and spend some time getting to know God.
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.