Tag Archives: church

Irreverance for Silence

I live on a busy street, and the single paned windows in my duplex do very little to block out the traffic noise. In addition, across the street is a 5 foot high embankment, which creates a sort of noise amplification tunnel. 

Periodically, I wear noise reducing headphones which help somewhat. Lately, however, I feel the need to sit in a place of stillness. Finding such a location has been challenging.

The public library? Nope. People think they’re at home and gab loudly, without any reprimand whatsoever from library staff.

I walked to a church a few blocks away, thinking a church would have to be quiet. I’m not Catholic, but I was pretty sure they wouldn’t mind. It’s also a grade school, so when I arrived, the doors were closed to the room where services are held, as the pews were filled with school children. Instead, I walked down the hall to the chapel. It was a small room and there were four or five parishioners seated. Almost immediately, the priest’s voice giving instruction to the children could be heard quite clearly through the walls. And, of course, the singing that followed was also clearly heard. A woman entered the chapel with a loud, crackling trash bag which she continued to crackle after sitting, as she rifled through it. The slow, steady breathing of the woman sitting behind me indicated she had fallen asleep. Every time someone moved around in their chair, it could be heard throughout the room. Obviously, acoustics had not been considered in the building specs.  When the gentleman walked in the room, turned on the light, and sat down, I decided to wave the white flag and left.

School had let out by this time, and as I walked through the lobby area, I noticed it was infinitely quieter than the chapel, so I took a seat. For 15 minutes, I sat there wondering what happened to the sanctity of healing silence.