Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Well I've had the opportunity to meet Nemo with all of the snow we've received, at least for now. What I do know deep within myself is that I gained so very much from the simple act of listening during this time ... the type of listening when you actually hear and internalize words.

This has been a spiritual time that has allowed me to hold on to what many of us may take for granted. The 'art of listening'. God gaves us ears to hear. Why? I'm not going to attempt to answer that question but rather share a prayer that has meaning to me.


How strange it is, O Lord,
that I should need to feel I need to ask you to hear me.
Is it not I who need to learn to listen? Should I not ask you to jerk me to my feet,
to snatch me out of my drowsy indifference,
to nudge me into alertness?
I am constantly surrounded by sounds I do not hear,
by voices to which I am indifferent.

This is a singing world.
There are voices of angels
and voices of love
and voices of those inviting me to gladness everwhere.
Enable me to hear them, I pray,
and in the hearing be lifted up to gratitude
for the mystery and magic of being human.

This is a sobbing world.
There are voices filled with echoes of hurt and pain everywhere.
There are voices almost choked out by tears
and voices that come out of aching.
There are hollow voices, empty voices,
I would rather not hear them --
the voices of hungry children
and of sorrowing woman
and of desperate men.
But they are all around me.
Enable me to hear them, I pray,
and in the hearing
be able to identify my brothers and sisters.

This is a shouting world.
There are voices of rage and of protest,
of defiance and of contempt,
How carefully I sift out the shouting,
ignore the screaming.
Make me listen, O God, I pray.
For you are the Father of us all,
and sometimes the voices of anger carry messgages from you.

Enable me to be listener, I ask.
For in listening I may find direction and guidance.

Help me to listen to myself --
to still, small voices of conscience,
to whispers of faith,
and to the soft inner humming of hope.

Help me to learn to trust myself more than I do,
trust myself not because I am wise and good,
but because I am loved and wanted.

I remember how the Lord Jesus spoke of your love for me
and went all the way to a cross to show its meaning.
Help me listen to others --
In the persons who are trying to tell me they love me,
and the persons who are trying to tell me
they need my love in return.
Help me to listen to the stranger who may be an angel in disguise,
to a friend who my be lonely and lost.
Help me to listen to the angry and the outraged
who may be saying to me words I need to hear.

Steady me, O God, as a listener.
And when I speak, make me careful lest I use words as weapons
and language as a severing sword.
Enable me to sort out what I hear
and not be thrown off balance
by the careless tongues of others.
Teach me to realize that just because a lie is spoken over and over,
it does not become true.
Just because a falsehood is spoken loudly,
it does not become less false.
So when prejudice and passion weight the words I hear
with divisiveness and conflict,
give me sense enough to reject them.
Give me judgement and common sense to cut through words
that evade and distort lest I be misled.
Steady me, O Lord, as I learn to listen. Amen.

Source: A Book of Uncommon Prayer by Kenneth G. Phifer