One of the things I love about plane travel is that there is nowhere else you can be for a given block of time. You are corralled into a huge aluminum seating hall, and given nothing but peanuts and soda to keep you occupied for hours on end. It sounds a bit funny, but I get a little excited about the prospects of what I can do during this time. The options seem to be limitless. I can work on my laptop, read a book, watch a movie on my iPod, or simply sit there and hope the person next to me doesn’t decide I am his new best friend. While people fear flying, I have actually come to enjoy it as a forced form of relaxation.

This past weekend I flew to New Mexico for work. Just an overnight trip, I made sure and packed the bare essentials to get me through the trip without compromising personal hygiene. Amongst my packed bag were three magazines, a new novel, my iPod loaded with two new movies, 3 gigs of new podcasts, my laptop, and some work reports. When the pilot came on and announced we would only be in the air for an hour forty-five minutes, I was almost bummed. I would never get to all this stuff! Not knowing what to do, I simply fired up a movie, and killed the time with amazing ease. Nothing like the present.

De-boarding the plane in Albuquerque, I headed to the car rental lot to pick up my cheap transportation that would take me another 2.5 hours west into the middle of nowhere. I was there to help photograph one of our projects in the middle of the New Mexico desert. I must be pretty important to be tasked with such an assignment. I tell myself that anyway.

So I stepped into my car and the first thing I did was make sure my iPod was hooked up and ready to go. Tunes for a road trip are essential. In fact, I hardly go ten minutes during the day without some sort of music or webcast playing. I can’t even sleep without the background noise of a fan. Music in the car is my waking equivalent of a nighttime fan. It relaxes me- I think.

On my drive, I began to think quite a bit about my life, my family, my friends, my amazing wife, and the crazy static that tends to keep me up at night whether or not I want it to. I began to look at the vast expanse of desert before me, and wonder what it would be like to live out there. To unplug from the world as I know it, and live in a place where we use well water and sunlight to feed our existence sounds so romantic on a few levels. “What would I do with all my time out here?” I thought to myself. “I bet I’d get into pottery or something, and read a lot.”

Somewhere in my train of thought, I came back around to my plane flight fetish. The opportunity of free time that morning quickly filled itself up with so many options, that I actually stressed myself out about what I would have time to do. Was this relaxation?

I realized that one constant in my life is noise. I have so much noise in my life that my soul looks for a way to calm the madness. “Getting away, reflection time, stepping back” are my forms of trying to escape the madness. The sad thing is the more I try to escape, the less I feel I hear God’s voice.

I turned my radio off. Panic of loneliness

I rolled down the windows. Dead silence.

I looked at God’s creation go on for miles. Overwhelming fear

I prayed. “What are you telling me Oh Lord?”

Then I listened. “Be still my child”, He whispered through the wind. “Be still”

I had a friend last week tell me that God is constantly speaking to us, but we are too busy to listen to Him. Even in the slow times, we fill our existence with so much noise that He cannot be heard. Sort of like my ‘free’ time on the plane that morning. God is standing right next to us like the Verizon Wireless guy saying “Can you hear me now?” “Sorry God, my radio is up too loud. Can you speak up?”

I really am thinking about this right now and asking for forgiveness. No wonder I feel so rocked around by circumstances in life. My radio is blaring.

I think it is always fine to escape for a while. Take the time to pray, reflect on life, our relationships with God, others, and ourselves. The trick is truly taking this time to reflect, relax, and bring this sense of confidence God provides into our daily lives. Be sill in the midst of the good times, the bad times, and all the times in between and listen to what God is telling you. Unplug the noise and listen. He will set you free.

(Psa 62:1 NRSV) For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.