When Life Is Too Noisy


We sat together on the screen porch.  Just the two of us.  The breeze kissed our cheeks as it greeted the wind chimes.  His feet rested on the rung of the rocking chair as he moved back and forth.  I watched the lemonade as drops of moisture slid down the glass like tears. Birds made music as they flitted by the screen, occasionally stopping on the post to offer a curious look in our direction.  Butterflies resting on rose bushes that seemed to spray perfume with each gentle wind blow.  Sounds of summer.  Smells of summer.  Sights of summer.

He’s 10.  I have 8 more summers with him, Lord willing.  My heart stole a snapshot to tuck away for later.  In the peace and quiet of the moment, I could see God.  Then the peace was disturbed.  2 industrial-sized riding lawn mowers began cutting the grass at the park next to our house.  Drowning the sounds of summer, covering the scents of summer, and clouding the sights of summer.

Raising my head from the pillows of the wicker sofa, I sat up straighter.  I closed the book I’d been reading and moved the lemonade aside.  So much for a relaxing afternoon on the porch.  His posture never changed, the rocking never stopped.  He seemed unfazed by the noise and distraction.

“Mom, do you hear that?”


“Mom, do you hear that?”

“I can barely hear you.  All I hear is a loud mower.”

“Listen.  Stop and listen.”

Stop? I had not moved, except to reposition in aggravation.  Listen?  To a mower?

“Mom, what is that?  It sounds like someone is whistling.  I think the lawn mower man is whistling.”

No way you could hear a whistle over that noise.  But history has proven that if anyone can hear or see something the rest of us miss, it’s Jacob.  So I listened.  But I heard nothing. Except noise.  I heard no gentle whistle.  All sounds of summer sliced by the blades of the mower.

“I’m sure it’s not a whistle.  All the noise would block it out.”

“No, I see his lips.  When I heard the faint sound of a whistle, I started looking to see where it was coming from.  When his mower faced me, I could see the curve of his lips.  He is whistling.”

I did the same.  When the mower turned in my direction, I looked at his lips.  Sure enough, they were in whistling position.  Then I could hear it.  Before I saw his lips, I couldn’t hear the whistle through the noise.  When I began looking for the sound, I could hear it.  Clearly.

And that is how I hear and see God.  The noise and distraction of the world attempts to drown Him out. His voice through the noise is soft and gentle.  Patient and slow.  Kind and loving.  It’s hard to hear when the volume of life turns up.  The key lies in looking to Him even when you can’t hear Him over the noise.  Watching His lips as they whisper softly to you.  When you see the curve of the lips, you can hear the gentle whispers.

 Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Where are you hearing and seeing God through the noise of life?

17 replies
  1. Renee
    Renee says:

    Sharon, thank you for commenting. It is amazing isn’t it how the Lord uses our children to speak to us and to teach us!

  2. Heather
    Heather says:

    Thank you, God, for bringing this sweet, wise, and thoughtful friend into my life! You have gifted her with words that remind us to examine our hearts and to seek You. Continue to use her in mighty ways for you kingdom.

  3. Renee
    Renee says:

    Heather, such sweet words to my heart. Thank you for praying these words over me. And for your precious friendship!

  4. Kim
    Kim says:

    This is so true! By the way, completely random question…were you in Hilton Head, SC last weekend with the NCADA conference? We sat with a couple at the farewell reception and you remind me of her. Unfortunately, I can’t remember her name. I’m much better with faces. Forgive me if it wasn’t you.

  5. Renee
    Renee says:

    Kim! What a small world! Yes, that was me :)) So glad to reconnect here! Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope you guys had a great time at NCADA. We sure did!

  6. Kimberly
    Kimberly says:

    We did! And you are right! What a small world! A friend of mine shared your letter to your boys blog on Facebook and commented on it. I thought, wait a minute! I know her! Lol!

  7. Aaron
    Aaron says:

    Thanks for the dagger that you just stuck in my heart with this line:

    “He’s 10. I have 8 more summers with him, Lord willing.”

    I just realized I only have 16 more summers with my daughter. What a brilliant way to put it and one that just made me stop dead in my tracks.

  8. Janet
    Janet says:

    My Pastor shared your letter to your sons…and, I was so inspired, I went to your blog for other writings. I am very excited to read more, and , perhaps, join a discussion!

  9. Renee
    Renee says:

    Wow, Janet. I’m so happy you are here. Thanks for joining us. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future!

  10. Renee
    Renee says:

    Aaron, it just goes much too fast! Enjoy your daughter every chance you get! When my first son was 2, a sweet older lady told me to cherish every second because it would be over before I realized it. That was 8 years ago and it feels like yesterday 🙂 Blessings!

  11. Dotti
    Dotti says:

    After reading your post on electronics and your children (“A Letter to my Boys”) moments ago, I wanted to learn more about you. Upon reading this post, I’m wondering if you can see any connection between the two thoughts expressed.

    You may be surprised to find that when your children are interacting with an electronic device, they are not totally disconnected with you and their environment. Just as your son was unfazed by the sound of an industrial lawn mower (and even heard a man whistling over its noise), to him it was just another moment in the noisy, fast paced world in which he is growing up. We could say in your world, the lawn mower equalled something akin to how you perceive an electronic device. You were barely unable to block out the noise. In his world, however, it was just another blip on the screen. He was able to carry on the status quo without missing a beat.

    We did not grow up in the world our children now live in. For better or worse, they have a much different experience and viewpoint due to all the changes that have taken place since the “good ol’ days”. For the most part, I think they are resilient and adapt well.

  12. Renee
    Renee says:

    Hi Dottie,
    Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you are here. I don’t see the connection between the noise of a lawn mower and an electronic device. A lawn mower is simply noise. But a device is something they are interacting with that pulls them away from everything else surrounding them. I could jump up and down and scream in front of one of my boys while he is playing a video game and he would not hear or see me. That is just his personality. He gets sucked in. For my children, living life through a screen is not a blip on the screen for them. Times are different, and there are wonderful aspects of it. Kids are resilient, but we can help them through it by limiting their time locked on a screen. Blessings!

  13. Belle
    Belle says:

    I have to tell you-I found your page while Googling “why does my lawn mower whistle”. I enjoyed reading it; thank you for sharing. God bless! Now I must get back to the task at hand! 🙂

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