Constant… that pretty well describes the meowing of my cat.  He never can be satisfied with the food we purchase for him…and he lets it be known from morning until night.  His meow sounds exactly like the words, “right now!”  So, I associate today’s subject word with nuisance.

                However, I am also aware at this very moment of the news broadcasts about hurricane Irma in the Florida Gulf coastal areas.  I’ve heard that winds are constant at 70 or more miles per hour.  When I think of some of the storm winds we have here in Oklahoma, I shudder at the thought.  Can you even imagine listening to the howling and the flying debris for hours on end during the slow-tracking hurricane?  People are probably very aware of the constant beating of their hearts in fear and panic.

                I also think about the constant stream of noise which seems to surround us every minute of our busy lives.  City traffic and noise settles to a low din, but it seems to always be there in the background.  The use of cell phones in public has added another dimension of noise to our lives, as people share some of their most personal thoughts loudly in restaurants, in aisles of the stores, and as they walk down the street.  I’ve had to retrain my mind to not suspect people who seem to be carrying on a conversation with themselves of being schizophrenics.  I have to remember the little hands-free device is often hidden behind their ears.

                Years ago, I would take my students for a walk in an adjacent field to a small grove of trees.  I assigned them to a partner with whom they could talk as we walked.  However, once we arrived at our destination, no talking was allowed.  We were to enjoy nature at its best…quiet and isolated from the noises of the city around us.  Each time we did this, I found one or two students who just could not be quiet for the thirty-minute period.  They had to make some kind of noise.  Perhaps they could not stand to be alone with their own thoughts.

                Today, I am aware of the need for noise exhibited by our students.  Many think they cannot study without music or a video of some kind playing while they attempt to study.  Even my first grade students seem not to be able to stand sitting still with nothing going on at the moment.  They will complain, “What are we going to do?  What’s next?  Why are we sitting here?”  Meanwhile, I am thinking to myself, “Why can’t first graders and their teacher take a nap?  It sounds good to me!”

                One of my favorite verses in the Bible is, “Be still and know that I am God.”  I have many fond memories of quiet times spent on a hillside boulder listening to nature around me.  I close my eyes and recall midnight walks under the stars at Windemere Baptist Assembly on Lake of the Ozarks.  And last of all, I remember the deafening quiet of the first big snow of the year in St. Louis during my childhood.  The blanket of snow deadened the usual constant noise of the city…and I would stand on our front porch and just listen to the quiet as huge flakes fell from the sky.    And these memories bring me constant joy and peace of mind.    Kay