Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth… (Psalm 98:4a, KJV)
Having four children, I got to hear a great deal of noise – joyful and otherwise. I would like to say the noise was a blessing, and it was a blessing, of course, but too often I didn’t experience it as such. While I realize any parent can grow weary of noise no matter how exuberant, I went through periods with my illness where almost any noise could be excruciatingly agitating. This made it difficult to share in many happy moments with my family as I sought out corners of dark silence to hide rather than join in the fun.
I don’t know if this is specifically a feature of my illness or part of my character, but I greatly struggle with any noise that comes randomly, chaotically, spontaneously. I can listen to a familiar (sometimes rocking) song at top volume through my ear buds, but if I enter a room where there is loud conversation, laughter, and unfamiliar sounds, I soon become exhausted.
Though I rarely experience noise as a blessing, I did eventually learn to endure the sound (without much complaint) for the sake of the joy that comes when family members rejoice together. It helped tremendously to have a wife so good at encouraging our children to delight in their discoveries of God’s world and God’s ways. This removed the pressure from me to be a “cheerleader.” Instead, I became the quiet encourager who gently (and lovingly, I hope) helped them appreciate how joy comes in many forms, in all circumstances (no matter how much or how little noise we make).