The Art of Listening

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This summer I have the incredible opportunity to spend almost 3 months on Vancouver Island with my (almost) husband and our 1 year old, as well as having our 5 and 8 year olds come out for 4 weeks in July and August. While most of my peers are busy working, I’m learning how to love cooking again, how to be present for the little things and how to reconnect both with my partner and – even more than that – with myself.

This past year and a bit have been a blur. Scratch that – the past 3 and a half years have been a blur. From the time Tory entered my life, my world has been in a constant state of stress and upheaval. Every aspect of my life has changed in huge ways, as has nearly every aspect of my self. I look back 3 years and see a broken child, searching for meaning and belonging and purpose and Love. Between dealing with a move across the country, a divorce that dragged out 3 full years and ensuing custody battle royale, becoming a step mom and in essence a wife, a career beginning and end, LSATs, first year of law school, pregnancy, childbirth (it was 76 hours, it counts as its own significant endeavor), becoming a mother and more, every facet of my being was reshaped, every belief about myself and the world challenged, every limit tested. But I’m here.

And I’m not just here, I’m… different. More. More aware, more humble, more forgiving, more trusting, more Loving. More human.

This is the first time since my new life began that I’ve been able to just sit and consider what my life is and who I am in it. With no pressing deadlines and no looming court dates or bills we can’t pay, I truly have the freedom to just BE. I think the greatest freedom I am currently feeling is from the pressure to have to provide financially for the family. Tory’s working and I am not responsible for this summers income, and I feel like I can breathe and relax into my life, into the chance to do nothing more than Love those around me for a time.

I catch myself feeling guilty for the nothingness – for the sitting and watching, for the quiet. And yet I know it is necessary. The quiet I have been given these few short months is not just for me to recharge after a grueling few years. I believe more than anything else, God has given me this quiet so that I have the time and space to hear His voice in the silence, and to listen to His whispers as they float in off the summer breeze. My day to day life is normally so filled to the brim with all my competing responsibilities, my attention drawn even in my dreams to all the things I must do and prepare to do and be careful not to do that I have no space in my life for any sort of quiet. For any sort of listening. It’s hard to hear the stillness of God above the cacophony of life.

Because that is what God is. Stillness. In a world that is ever changing and always moving, He is a fixed mark, strong and stable and sure. He is steadfast in his pursuit of us, active in his Love of us, but I can always recognize His voice if I am willing to listen for it, because it never changes. He whispers Love into every corner of my life, asking only that I trust Him enough to let him lead me to fullness.

I am so easily led astray.

In September I will head back into the throng of students competing to find success. For many that success looks like money and prestige. For some it looks like finding meaning and making a difference. For a few it looks like compassion. For me…

For me I pray for the courage to hear and to listen to what I am being called to. For me I pray I do not become seduced by the endless pursuit of MORE, of bigger and better and richer.

For me I pray I will speak Love into the lives of thousands over the decades to come. That I will reflect compassion, embody humility and inspire courage. I pray that I will spare children the hate of their parents, and parents their crippling hate of each other and of themselves. I pray that God makes my life matter.

This summer, I hope I master the art of listening. I want to hear in no uncertain terms who I am called to be in this world so that when the time comes for me to live it out, it is impossible for me to forget, impossible for me to run from. I want to know myself – the version of me that I am called to be – so deeply, so wholly, that I cannot deny who I am. That if I choose not to be her it will torture me every day until I stop running away from myself.

I want to know me, so that out of that knowing, I can truly live.

God, help me listen.

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