Noise, of course, is not just something we hear; there is something inherently negative in the word. The sound of my children's voices, my husband's tires crunching on the gravel at the end of a long day, or the whirring of the coffee grinder promising dark roasted refreshment...these are the most beautiful of melodies. In contrast, noise is the ring of the telephone just as the head of the table says, "Let's say grace." Or, our occasional lapses into self-pity, complaining or nagging. Sometimes, though, the noise is just a rattle of unsettledness in my own head. Thoughts don't come easily or clearly, and they seem stuck in some sort of mental muck.
In the tempestuous ocean of time and toil there are islands of stillness where man may enter a harbor and reclaim his dignity.
I Asked For Wonder, A.J. Heschel
Heschel is speaking here of the practice of the Sabbath, but can we not block out times for short, brief, "islands of stillness" amidst whatever fills our days? It is not essential for survival, but survival is not my goal. I am aiming higher.