Listening is a lost art. Because I have chosen to listen this Lent, I am becoming supremely aware of all the “shouting” that goes on around me. Media messages are constantly bombarding us, and they do affect us. If you don’t believe this, I think you are either very naive or foolish.
The other day, I was driving in my car and praying. Sometimes, my car is a sanctuary because it is a place where I am by myself. I love my family, but we are all home together more than the average family in America. There are occasions when I need to have “alone time.” So, I found myself running errands and praying.
The first stop I had to make was at the Mall. I noticed right away the piped in music. I though to myself, “No silence allowed here.” Many of the stores had such large, graphic ads plastered across their storefronts that 20 years ago you would have only found in a PlayBoy magazine! I see families strolling together right past these ads, totally oblivious. Every store seems to have its own music blaring. “Who can think straight in this mess,” I wonder to myself.
I had to stop for gas next. As I turn on the pump, up pops a television screen and loud advertnewsment? As far as I can tell, there is no way to turn it off. “Wow,” I think to myself, “I cannot even fill up my car with gas without being bombarded by this junk.”
Finally, I get to the mechanic for an oil change. I have to wait in a lobby. You guessed correctly–giant screen television blaring away. I spy the remote. No one else is around. I pick it up and turn off the television. Out of nowhere, an employee appears. “Oh no, the television is broken,” he says. I explain that I chose to turn it off. The look on his face said everything. Apparently, turning off the television is forbidden or just plain odd. Since no one else was there, he allowed it. As soon as my car was ready, and I was backing out of the parking spot, I noticed him heading over to turn the television back on.
What happened to good old-fashioned conversation? What happened to clear thinking? What happened to ‘silence is golden’? Apparently, it got eaten by the media monster! And no one seems to have noticed or cared.