Last year's California trip was my ultimate Nature Lover's Vacation, so I shouldn't complain; however, with exception of a few beautiful beaches, you can have Southern California, especially Los Angeles, the City of Angels, which was obviously named after the loud trumpeting angels. Personally, I prefer the quiet, appeared in a dream, whispering in your ear kind.
We did the touristy thing in Hollywood and walked around TCL (formerly Grauman's and Mann's) Chinese theater looking at the Walk of Fame: a stark difference to the quiet beauty of Big Sur and Kings Canyon. We tried to stay close. It was madness: up-and-coming anxious "artists" pushing their CDs expecting cash in return, precariously hopeful "star" impersonators willing to be photographed also expecting cash, various incognito criminals waiting for a chance, sadly experienced homeless of all ages searching for a handout, and of course, cars, buses, taxis, tourists, shoppers, and employees loudly hustling and bustling with ipod and smart phones as the loud trumpeting angels in the second largest city in the United States proclaimed THIS IS WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF! For me, it was more like a nightmare.
Ready to escape the madness outside, we raced up the stairs of their version of a shopping mall to find food. I should've known better. We were still in the City of Loud Trumpeting Angels, never wishing to be quiet. These were no ordinary stairs. "What is that noise? Where is the music coming from?" Luke knew immediately. "Oh cool, Mom, these are piano stairs." Well, great, each step provided more loud noise. At this point, I wanted to scream PLEASE BE QUIET!
I was interested in only two of the Hollywood Stars on the Walk of Fame: Billy Graham and Tim McGraw. My first thought when seeing Billy Graham's star was "A Fish out of Water," which I'll write about later. I smiled at Tim McGraw's star. Driving through the City of Loud Trumpeting Angels, I was what Tim McGraw sings about in Shotgun Rider, navigating David on the fast-loud-crowded lanes of the 405, the 10, the 5, etc., beside him singing to the radio.
Away from the City of Loud Trumpeting Angels, Disneyland was less scary but certainly not quiet. As if the theme park itself isn't noisy enough with thousands of people talking and laughing and babies crying, guests are serenaded at the hotel swimming pool, the sidewalks, and queue lines with Disney tunes. We had a great time, but I needed quiet.
My wish was granted as I sat beside a fellow reader on the plane ride to Houston. But, we picked up a seat-beside-me talker in Houston. NOSE IN A BOOK is the universal sign for Please Be Quiet, but one pause and close of the book, and the Please Be Quiet sign is OFF. Tempted to read again when he started talking, I closed my book because he had two saving graces. One, he was a good Texan story teller and shared stories of his son at West Point and many travel stories, including a submarine ride in Hawaii. Two, he was a history buff, and after asking me the loaded question, "What do you think of THE flag?" we discussed the Civil War and Robert E. Lee, the Revolutionary War and Francis Marion, the Alamo and Sam Houston, and the Berlin Wall and Ronald Regan (I had been to his library). He impressed me a lot. I impressed him not at all.
We talked about the City of Loud Trumpeting Angels and agreed the world is too noisy, crowded and busy. We need more quiet, and the next thing I knew, we were in beautiful South Carolina.
There's another reason I smiled at Tim McGraw's star. He and wife Faith Hill recorded the ultimate "big city, we don't fit in here" song, Meanwhile Back at Mama's. It's their version of Please Be Quiet, expressing how I felt in the City of Loud Trumpeting Angels. By the end of the week, I couldn't wait to "pack it up and leave here." Meanwhile, Back at Katy's, there's a porch, dog, living room, favorite QUIET coffee shop, and yard when I need for the world to Please Be Quiet. Meanwhile back at Katy's, I have friends who understand "in a world gone crazy as this," we need quiet.
We seek and experience God's presence in the crowded and intimate, and the loud and quiet. For me, I experience His presence more in the quiet and intimate. It's a relief. If I'm home alone, the television is off. I don't even own an ipod.
...but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. I Kings 19:12
Please Be Quiet,