Stopping the Chatter

What deadens us most to God’s presence within us, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are continuously engaged in with ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought. I suspect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort . . . than being able from time to time to stop that chatter.  ~Frederick Buechner

My sister is 11 years older than I and there weren’t any kids my age our neighborhood. That didn’t stop me from having an active social life. When I was young enough I still needed training wheels, I would cheerfully announce I was off ‘make my rounds’ on my little red bike. I had 6 stops I made several times a week to visit my elderly friends (ages 70-91).

I ate pink candy and drank tea with Orpha, played Kings-in-the-Corner with Sue, petted cats with Wilma, sang old songs with Mae, walked through the cemetery with Hattie and watched As The World Turns with Frank and Dorothy. I loved them all. They always seemed glad to see me. In retrospect, I think it’s likely they were often just being polite. I was never quiet. That must have been exhausting.

I loved to talk. I think that’s why I was never very interested in dolls. They were so quiet. Except Chatty Cathy. I pulled her string and she would talk to me and I would talk right back. I played with her until her string hung limp and her battery operated voice was exhausted.

I took me another 4 decades to run down. I couldn’t sit still, or be still long enough to listen for God’s voice. In my search for more, I had to learn from time to time, to stop the chatter and simply be still.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

19 thoughts on “Stopping the Chatter”

  1. Remember my daughter had a Chatty Cathy doll…I still have it…and as her mom, I sure was glad when that string went limp and the “chatting” stopped!

    Good post….I have no problem with silence. After reading this post, I am reminded of why I can live with silence…also remember Neil Diamonds “Sounds of Silence” …Did we not hear him on September 11 at the 9/11 ceremony?

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and congratulations on the Most Versatile Blog award.

    1. Linda – Even when I learned to be quieter, the internal chatter never stopped. And then, a few years ago it did. I love the Sounds of Silence.
      Thank you for coming back,
      ~ Debbie

  2. Carley – somehow I’m not at all surprised that Peg called to your heart. Thank you for sharing that with me and for the MVBA mention! I hope to catch up Sunday!
    ~ Debbie

  3. This is great, Debbie. I remember CHATTY CATHY too. But, I didn’t play with the elderly; other than the boys across the street I played with a Peg around the corner. She was 24 or 34 and suffered a brain injury or some such sadness. I loved her and her parrot. Thanks for the memories. And the reminder to be “quiet.”

    PS — get your Versatile Blogger Award blog button at:

    1. Drusilla – thank you so much. First, thank you for just being such a kind, consistent reader. And thank you for the MVBA nomination. I hope to reciprocate next week when I get back home. Thanks again for your steady support and kind words.
      ~ Debbie

  4. Wow, great to see you in town Debbie. I refrained from doing this, not knowing when you would be available, but since you’ve posted… I’ve nominated you for the Most Versatile Blogger Award. This will give you lots of opportunies to present us with wonderful stories. Thanks friend and God bless.

    1. MT – as usual, I’m only half here. I should be back home Sunday evening. I’m so far behind on my blog reading.
      I was able to pay $3 to get on line tonight from the road – very odd, I know. I do so appreciate the MVBA nomination. I hope it doesn’t expire before Sunday! 😉 Thanks, friend!
      ~ Debbie

    1. Jeffery – I’m honored and I thank you. I have limited internet access until Sunday – when I’m hoping my AT&T card will once again pick up a signal. I’m looking forward to catching up on your blog and very much appreciate the MVBA!
      ~ Debbie

  5. Stillness and the ability to breathe were a major discussion point in my Bible study last night. What a gift from God to stop our minds and focus only on Him.

  6. As always, very thoughtful.

    Let me share Gerard Manley Hopkins on this issue:

    Elected Silence, sing to me
    And beat upon my whorled ear.
    Pipe to me pastures fair
    And be the music that I love to hear.

    Speak nothing lips.
    Be lovely dumb.
    It is the shut, the curfew sent
    Where all surrenders come which alone make you eloquent.

    1. literary lew – how completely appropriate and beautiful. I need to start reading poetry again. It stirs my heart. Thank you for this lovely reminder.
      ~ Debbie

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