>When I first got my car, the sound system didn’t work. The speakers were (and still are) mostly blown. The buttons had fallen off of the volume control so you had to push this tiny little button that would get stuck and either ruin your eardrums if you were trying to raise the volume, or go all the way down to zero, at which point you couldn’t hear the radio. The worst of it was that anytime you went around a corner, the volume would get really loud and further damage your already hurting ear drums. Needless to say, I didn’t listen to much and just kept the system off. Driving in a car with people and without music is awkward. People would get in and I would immediately feel the need to justify why there wasn’t any music. It made for long awkward silences anytime there was a pause in conversation.
By myself it was a different story. Driving in silence at first drove me crazy. It gave me too much time to think about a conversation I’d just had that hadn’t gone well, a conversation I wanted to have, or I’d give in to worrying about the future, about finances, and about life in general. That lasted until I realized that the silence could be used for good. The Lord prompted me to start praying during those drives to work or to Bible study in Savannah or to a friend’s house. I began carrying on out-loud conversations with my heavenly Father. We talked about everything and it soon became natural. I loved driving by myself places and truthfully wasn’t always excited about having people in the car with me.
About six months after i got my car and had learned to make the most of the silence, my parents gave me a new car stereo for my birthday. Listening to music kept me awake on long drives and no longer did I have to explain why I didn’t have the radio on. Part of me missed the times with the Lord, but I did not exercise the discipline of turning off the radio from time to time. Soon, I forgot that I had ever had an issue with the radio.
Yesterday, I left the house at 5:45 am to meet Mandie and drive with her to Atlanta and keep her company in the car. There were few people on the road. I forgot to grab my CDs and there wasn’t much on the radio. I was prompted to turn off the radio and just listen and talk to the Lord. Being out of practice that I am, it did not come naturally at first. I had to set goals for myself such as, “ok, I’m halfway to 95 on 462. I’ll thank the Lord until I get to 95.”
It was a good exercise in discipline and the longer I prayed, the easier it got. Next task: work on listening. In the silence, if I’m not actively praying, my mind tends to wander before I realize I’m supposed to be listening.
I need to turn off the radio more often.