Living for a short while in his new home in Tennessee, Desiring God founder and theologian John Piper observes that there is a still quietness in his new locale, so much so that at times he can hear his wife breath. And he's not sure he can get used to it.
After stepping down as the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn., earlier this year, Piper announced that he would be moving his family to Tennessee for a year beginning in May to allow the church's new pastor, Jason Meyer, develop a strategic vision without distractions.
Now, after a few weeks into his one year sojourn in the country, Piper revealed that his relationship with the silence of his new neighborhood is a tad testy.
"Well, it's taking some adjustment," said Piper in a recent 'Ask Pastor John' interview from his temporary residence perched on a mountain and complete with a porch.
"It's funny, the Lord prepared me for it in a way," he said. "I came home from Minneapolis a few week ago and (wife) and I got out of the car on Saturday and we stopped and said, 'something's wrong'," he noted.
"What was wrong was that Interstate 94 and 35-W which intersect in front of our house, had been shut down to build the bridge over Chicago Avenue and there was not a single car on these 15 lanes of freeway and the whole neighborhood sounded starkly silent. I stood there saying 'this is really weird. I haven't heard this kind of silence for a long time and that's the way it is here all the time," explained Piper with a laugh.
"So you sit on the front porch and there's nothing but this cow about a mile away it seems like, I don't know what he's doing and then there's the birds that you can hear, there are no cars anywhere and so it I think it is an adjustment of soul which you get accustomed to the sound of nature as opposed to the sounds of man," said Piper.
Despite his uneasiness with the silence of his neighborhood, Piper acknowledged God's purpose for his time in the quiet.
"His call on me now is to get retooled in a sweet place of peace as I write and fit me to throw my life back into the fray of where most people in the world live with all of their sorrows and so I'm thankful for this year," he said.
"It remains to be seen to me what effect that's going to have on my soul. I have no desire to spend the last ten years of my life sitting on a front porch staring at God's beauty because the world has fallen and I think God is going to give me about a billion years sitting on a front Porch staring at his beauty," he added.
So far, he's learning to appreciate the sounds he would have normally missed under the din of city living like the sound of his wife breathing.
"I can hear my wife breathing now," he quipped. "It could be good. It could be bad. I'm used to having just a nice hum of the freeway…kind of white sound. But here, every little move in the bed and every breath I'm alert to, so we'll see how that shakes out."