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  • Alaric Mark Lewis

On delightful noise

My next door neighbours are a young family with three – or maybe four – small children. (I've never been able to get an accurate headcount.) They haven't lived here very long, and – though we often exchange pleasantries – I have been saying for some time that I need to invite them over and have a proper chat. I've never got around to it and of course now I can't really have a proper chat because of the restrictions under which we are currently living. I must put that on the top of my list when we can once again be within six feet of each other.

Their children are delightfully noisy. They're not disturbingly noisy at all, they're delightful. (Trust me, I know the difference, especially as I live with a dog who can be disturbingly noisy.) Now that I am spending almost all of my time at home – and they are too – I get to hear them as they play each day, and it's intoxicating. I'm finding the silence of the city a tad unnerving, and I am so grateful for these little audible signs. If the world seems to hold nothing but this horrible virus and its effects on us in a kind of ominous silence, the voices from next door remind me that we actually live in a world bursting with creativity and fun and joy and life. If the sad events of the world would have me revert to a childhood image of God as some stern-faced disapproving man on a cloud, the voices from next door would have me know that God is playful and fun, bursting with life and enthusiasm.

Which is clearly the image of God I need now. Maybe we all do. I hope we can all have open hearts to know the grace God is sending us.

And open ears too, of course. Without them we won't be able to hear the delightful noise.

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