Beyond the Din


I stood at the pump while fuel flowed into the tank, assaulted by the sound of busy traffic rushing by. It seemed nearly deafening and I realized I couldn’t hear anything else.

Or could I?


I strained my ears to hear something other than the raging traffic. Sure enough the pulsing music from the gas station could be heard, as well as the hum of the air conditioner unit. I was surprised at how the traffic noise, so all encompassing just minutes before, had, as I listened, subsided enough for me to hear something else.

Then I wondered if I could tune in even further, beyond the tumult of traffic, music, and machine? Could I hear something soft, and light?


I closed my eyes and at first, I heard the whoosh of gas flowing into my car. Yes. I had not been able to hear that before.

And then. I heard them.

Birds tweeting and twittering somewhere in the sparse surrounding trees and electrical lines. I could actually hear, listening with all that I had, the birdsong of a new day.

And I smiled.


It was a wonderful picture of how I’ve been approaching my days lately. I’ve been training myself to listen beyond the loud noisy thoughts of “Achieve more! Do more! Get more done! This isn’t enough! Create more! Improve! Stay on top of it all! Get it all done!”

This brand of thoughts rages through my mind like the noisy traffic in our town. It can be constant and it has long been the litany I’ve paid heed to for many years. This year, however, I’m not listening to it. Or at least, I’m questioning it, and wondering if there’s another line I could tune into. I’m finding there’s a birdsong of living and joy, beyond the din of these maddening thoughts.

As I’m learning to listen beyond the cacophony of noisy thoughts, I’m hearing something so lovely and freeing. It’s a song I’ve heard before, that has broken through the din on numerous occasions. The words to the song are the same every time I tune in: ‘You are loved. You are enough. In this moment, all is well. And all will be well. Today’s unfolding will be sufficient for the day’s needs. My presence goes with you. Live and love. Laugh and be free. Peace and joy are yours.”

As I placed the pump handle back in its cradle, I marveled at the fuel I had just received. My heart was full and ready for miles of living.


Above watercolors were created over this past weekend of high school graduation, graduation picnic, soccer championship game, and numerous other events and activities. I find myself drawn to these abstractions as a way of releasing nervous energy, of gathering rich memories, and of listening beyond the din.