Conductor Below the Din


She never raised her voice. So they listened, intently.

As an educator, I should be accustomed to noise. I spend most of my time surrounded by delightful, enthusiastic, and energetic little chatterboxes. From the moment they enter the stairwell, to the moment they exit our building, they vocalize and verbalize; they screech and thy scream; they chit and they chat.

All. Day. Long.

I should be used to it. Comfortable with it. Instead, I tolerate it. But my inner being craves moments of peace and quiet.

The teacher who trained me however, seemed perfectly fine in this cacophony of words. She thrived. She orchestrated the chaos into a symphony of exploration, and an opus of learning. She was a conductor below the din.

To be sure, the children were a noisy bunch. Why shouldn’t they be? Learning is exciting, and in her classroom they were set free to discover and defend, to articulate and to argue, to practice and to perform. Yet somehow amidst the clamor, she led softly. With the most gentle utterance of her voice, the children came to attention.

“Raise your hand if you hear my voice.”

It was all she needed to say.

The conductor in action.

I don’t hear well in the midst of the din. If I sit at a table with several colleagues talking, I’m lucky to make out most of the words of the teacher next to me. If I am in a room full of people at some social gathering, fuhgetaboutit. I have no clue what they are saying. I have to flail at lip-reading.

Which makes me wonder, at this noisy social gathering called LIFE – how well do I listen to the Father’s voice? With all the hoopla around me; all the stimuli vying for my attention; all the special needs and important good deeds clamoring for my heart, do I LISTEN when He speaks to me?

“When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” – Luke 14:15

Jesus was at a great feast, a hubbub filled with squawking, and commotion. Yet this man seated nearby heard his words. He listened intently to the promise of a coming kingdom – a kingdom that would be for all people, of all backgrounds, of all time.

Jesus was telling him the problem wasn’t in the availability of the message, but in the willingness of the listeners.

Jesus was conducting in the chaos.

The man at the table was listening below the din.

I have set out this year to DIVE into my spiritual journey; to listen below the din:
I’m trying to DWELL in His presence. Meditate on His word.
I choose to IGNITE others to encounter Him.
I take opportunities to VENTURE into challenges, and follow him courageously.
I strive to EMBODY His love by my actions each day.

3 thoughts on “Conductor Below the Din

  1. Your writing drew me in immediately. I am the teacher conducting beneath the din, but it’s not always seamless. I like to call it controlled chaos. When things get real quiet, I can almost here the focus. The silence never lasts for long, but when it is there, listening is key.


  2. Once again, you have written a beautiful and thoughtful piece of writing. I loved the way you described your mentor teacher. The sermon’s message at my church this past Sunday was similar to yours. “Jesus was telling him the problem wasn’t in the availability of the message, but in the willingness of the listeners.” We are wrong if we think God isn’t speaking. He is. We just have to be available to listen, even in the midst of the cacophony of the world.


  3. Greg, how beautifully the beginning of your piece led into a spiritual passage at the end – a journey from reality to the sublime. Your writing honored the word listen and pointed out that we are all human beings amongst an array of noise, social action, and young learners. As educators, we need to listen intently and challenge ourselves to inspire and lead our charges on their journey as we walk ours.


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