Listening

Listening

“Spread the map on the table, with the coffee stain
Put your finger on the places, show me where you’ve been
Is that California, where your teardrops dried?
You drew a circle around Georgia, can you tell me why?”

A season of quiet does not mean that nothing is happening. Often, it means that things are becoming, growing beneath the surface. Things are stirring in the heart. That has been true for me.

After I marched and wrote about it, I felt hurt and hushed by some of the reactions. I felt the impulse to explain myself, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t have to. So, I decided to shift my attention. I let the noise do what it will, and I turned my face to work that I love. Nurturing friendships, caring for my family, finishing projects, making a home.

It’s been a while since I wrote here. A time of listening rather than speaking. I gave myself permission to simply be quiet, to receive the gifts that are before me, and to listen carefully. I heard what I needed to hear.

I realized that I do not have to fill the silent space if I want to be quiet. I can be still. I can listen for the Spirit’s voice, for my own voice. It’s there.

I can attend to the people who teach me everything, my beloveds. The little one who runs everywhere he goes, who laughs at the things I might miss. The one who listens to me, knows my heart, and loves me well. We have a beautiful home together.

I’ve heard so much in this time of listening. I worked with a fantastic friend on our podcast, Glass Half Full. I’m proud of the work we’ve done there, and the space we’ve made for voices to be heard.

I’ve completed the project for my Doctorate of Educational Ministry, and I am forever grateful for where that work has taken me.

I’ve dreamed with some colleagues about how we see God at work in the world and how we can dance with God in the most interesting places. I’ve served in my church, watching new dreams come to life.

I’ve written in places that speak God’s hope into this world. A fun writing adventure  has been exploring writing as a spiritual practice with a group of women from my church: Praying with Our Pens.  I’ve preached and led retreats with people who follow Christ in beautiful ways. I’ve wondered and dreamed with my husband about how we are building our family, and what family looks like to us.

This listening, dreaming, stirring time has us wondering what’s next. Not getting stuck on the minutia of what and how but listening for the ways that all that has unfolded in our lives has mattered. I’m loving this song from Nichole Nordeman that affirms this thought for me. It has all mattered:

“And every road and every bend
Every bruise and bitter end
All you squandered, all you spent
It mattered, it mattered
Mercy always finds a way
To wrap your blisters up in grace
And every highway you’d erase
It mattered, it mattered.”

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