I spent the whole day listening to people today. In many ways, life is far more internally challenging than people anticipated as they spend time at home and sometimes that can bring about various emotions. That is why I am on the phone with some of these folks.
Listening actually demands a lot more strength and discipline than we realize. As we listen to people, we learn about where people really are at this present moment in their lives.
Everyone has a story and these stories sometimes find their way into our hearts. A friend shared with me honestly how he feels in dealing with wife’s health predicament. She has been sick for a long time. In many ways, it is a story of endurance, commitment and faith even though he is tired. He is tired of not knowing what is next. He is tired of praying for her and she is not really getting better. He is in turmoil as he walks between making sure that she is cared for and feeling the tiredness of his own being. It is a story that has no clear conclusions. He is going through his own spiritual desert. Yet, I can feel the real meaning of his own relationships with God, his wife, his kids and grandkids. It is a story of learning how to live for God when there is little working in one’s favour.
Another story has to deal with someone who has lost so much in her life. Her husband left her when their two children were in their early teens. She is now left alone fighting for the physical and emotional security of her kids and herself. She told me how she has learned how to move from anger, resentment and despair to a place of having the tranquillity of her heart so that she can see more clearly and has some hope. However, she also told me that with physical isolation, she has realized how serious her emotional bankruptcy is. She asked me whether God would walk with her if she allows herself to truly feel the impact of that brokenness. She knows my answer…she just needs to hear it one more time. It is a story of emotional pain, physical healing and spiritual longing. Once again, it has no real ending and yet it has many new beginnings: prone to depression, self-discovery in God, fear of rejection, hope in God’s welcoming presence, doubts about self-worth and conviction to grow. It is a messy story and yet it a beautiful one.
So let us listen and listen well, even when we are alone because we might come in touch with our own personal story.
Psalm 118: 24
“This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”