March 24, 2021
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak . . . James 1:19
In this increasingly noisy world, consider the almost lost art of listening. We tend to talk over each other, interrupt, or wait for the space between another person’s breath so that we can jump in with what we want to say. Often our minds are a million miles away while our partner, friend, or child is talking to us. The ongoing conversations in our own heads prevent us from truly hearing what the other is trying to express. I wonder how many gifts, how many precious insights, we have failed to receive simply because we did not listen.
To truly listen to others is to acknowledge their presence and their significance. Listening is an act of honoring someone else and making space for them in our lives because they matter. We give up a part of ourselves to give to another. Listening offers the gift of attention, and in this white-water world, who of us would not appreciate just a moment of true attention?
In regard to Lent and seasons of transformation, listening is a practice we can “give to” someone else. One way to practice listening is to become more aware of what is directly in front of us and to slow down enough to hear it, whatever it is–a spiritual practice called “audio divina,” or holy listening. Everything created has a voice, and as we attend to listening to those voices, we practice becoming more attentive to the words a child of God is sharing with us.
We each have a story to tell. What a gift it is when we make room to listen to another’s story, to hear it not only with our ears but also with our hearts. That is how Divine Love listens to us. Blessings~ Rosemary
When the wind blows across your skin, listen.
you might hear the voice of an ancestor
guiding you toward your dream.
When you catch the glimpse of silver
dancing across the waves, listen
for the ancient secret that directs your path.
Listen to the way the breeze forms
grooves in the sand and learn about the symmetry
of your own life. Stop what you are doing
to honor the song of the mockingbird in all
its different languages and know it sings
for you. Listen to the way the pelican
rides on the currents or glides
across a cloudless sky, inviting you
to let go.
Listen to your own heartbeat,
what it calls you to remember
and listen to the voice of the one
seeking that same heart.
Listen to the hibiscus when it
unfurls its orange petals to receive
the Light, holding its breath at its own glory
and be amazed at each bright word
it utters. Become the sacred vessel
that treasures each sound it’s given
with reverent wonder.
© Rosemary McMahan