Telling a story once may bring laughter, tears or insight. Who doesn’t love a good story? One that engages your head and your heart; causes you to think about life differently; appreciate what you have even more. Telling a story, the same story in the same way many times, can become part of your story.
Pieces of my story have been collected on these pages for almost 5 years now. I don’t tell my story just to be heard. I tell my story to process its elements and try to make sense in Light of a Greater Story. My desire is that through my story I am pointing to the One True Story and helping you see and hear how you can connect your story with the greatest story ever told.
For a few years I have been practicing listening skills. My ears work fine. But listening is a different thing altogether.
Listening requires focus. (internal as well as external) Freedom from distraction. Patience. Silence. Humility. (letting others talk instead of me) Listening to the heart requires wisdom as well.
After my Dad died I spent a lot of time alone allowing deep grief to be my daily silent companion. It was a form of depression for sure but not the black cloud that swallows many for various reasons. This was the result of the shock; the sudden tragic loss. And I knew I needed to be in the grief and not push it away, pretending everything was ok. It wasn’t. I was learning to recognize wisdom when I heard it.
I sat in the garden one day in May for I don’t know how long. I watched the flowers sway in the spring breeze. I heard birds chirping and cars driving by. But I sat unmoving, deep in self-pity; the kind that leads to despair.
Suddenly to my right a hummingbird started working the lipstick salvia plant that I had purchased on a trip to the nursery; a trip that was meant as a distraction for me. While there I saw a hummingbird approach a small 4 inch potted plant that had 2 flowers on it. I stood mesmerized remembering how much my Dad loved to feed hummingbirds in his backyard. I bought the plant and put it in the ground in our front yard. That plant was attracting another hummingbird and I just watched in awed silence. Tears welled up and spilled over as I thought of my Dad. I said out loud to God, “don’t you even care how hard this is for me? Do you even see how much I am hurting?”
I turned away from watching the hummingbird and looked at my hands in my lap. I had clenched both hands into fists. Staring at my anger in view of my hands I heard a faint whirring noise. I looked up and there, right in front of me not 2 feet away, a hummingbird hovered, staring at me.
At the risk of something precious being ridiculed, I will share: I knew at that moment God heard me in my grief.
He has gone to greater lengths than causing a hummingbird to pause in its flight to demonstrate His love for me. But do I listen?
He told us “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” He showed us “Greater love has no one than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.” He promised us a Helper “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
He also said “he who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Six times this is recorded in the gospels and always in the context of Jesus teaching something. The word we see translated ‘to hear’ has meaning beyond the ears functioning. English simply leaves out so much intent and is much too general. The Greek word used here ‘akouo’ means ‘I hear, I comprehend through hearing’.
Do we comprehend what manner of love and provision God has for us? Are we gleaning wisdom from His Word? Are we in the process of learning to hear?