It rattles us that there is too much noise and too little silence in our society. Of course we live in New York City, a wild and raucous place where jack-hammers are tearing up the streets for new projects and garbage trucks work into the night grinding away the refuse. It is almost impossible to read in airports any more because of cell-phone loud mouths and blaring television monitors. The only refuge and sanctuary are pocket parks in the city and quiet cars in trains.
In an article in The New York Times, Tara Parker-Pope reports that changes are on the horizon for hospitals where the noise level is too high. For a long time administrators of these institutions thought that having the latest technology to monitor patients was more important than the peace and quiet that is part of the healing process. Now they are more interested in meeting the needs of patients who have complained about their inability to sleep in the hospital. Anxiety and anger about this problem could send a person's blood pressure up six points.
We were happy to hear about the campaigns of health care systems to turn things around with "Shhh" ( Silent Hospitals Help Healing) and Hush (Help Us Support Healing). We suggest that members of churches, synagogues, and mosques work together to create other silent spaces for those in society who are just looking for a quiet place to rest, read, think, or pray. Think of these spaces as a silent car on a train that doesn't move but provides the manna of peace and calm for noise wounded victims of our loud society.