One Sunday morning a few weeks ago, I picked up Fred Buechner’s book, “Listen to your life.” The title jerked me awake. What does it mean – listen to your life? What would I hear, if I actually stopped and listened? The question stayed with me all day.
I went to church as I do every Sunday. As a member of the choir, I sang a bouncy African song. “Lift your voices to God with singing! Praise the Lord with a joyful song!” Smiles broke out in the congregation. Their applause was enthusiastic. As part of the choir, I had brought a moment of joy to a group of people. I liked that. Listening to my life is fun, I thought.
After the service, I talked with friends, young and old. They were concerned about the back pain I have been experiencing. Once again, I listened to my life and heard about the importance of relationships and caring. That felt good, too.
Sunday evening, along with two friends, I attended a fundraiser for “A Place Called Home”, Lindsay’s shelter for the homeless. Yes, I thought, I’m glad I want to care for others.
On that one day, I listened to my life and liked what I heard. That isn’t always the case. There are days when I hear only my mistakes, my disappointments. Sometimes I hear anger or judgment or apathy. Often I am so busy, I don’t know what I have said or thought or done. I don’t know what needs to be changed, who needs to be cared for, or what I can celebrate.
As a Christian I believe that God loves each human being in this world. I believe God is present with us every moment of our lives. When we pay attention to each moment, stop and think about our day, listen for God, we can hear and know God’s presence, God’s purpose, God’s love. Listen carefully and you will hear the Spirit working in your life.
Jesus said, “I am with you always, even onto the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
The news is filled with the disaster in Haiti. Pictures of thousands of collapsed homes, dead bodies, and wounded and broken people flash across our television and computer screens. Misery, grief, fear, desolation shout at us from the eyes and voices of the Haitian people.
At the same time, we are witnessing a miracle. The world is not ignoring Haiti. We are responding. The world’s compassion and action is amazing. In Canada, we are opening our wallets and giving generously. We’re giving clothing, tools, medicine, bandages, whatever is needed. We’re offering our time and talents. We want to help. . From within us, God’s love has been set free.
Just as I was beginning to think that the world was being taken over by evil, our news has shown me an outpouring of goodness that is overwhelming. Children, teens and adults are doing everything they can to help. Gone is the apathy that plagues our society. Gone is the greed and the need for security. In this time of economic downturn, even our government has designated millions for Haiti. Our armed forces, already stretched to the limit of their resources by the war in Afghanistan, has sent troops, trained to bring order in the chaos. Many who seldom pray, are praying. God’s goodness has risen up within us. We have set aside our concerns of race and our desire to judge. For at least this little while, we are living the words of St. Paul, “If one suffers we all suffer…” (1Corinthians 12:26). As human beings we are being the best we can be.
I believe that our response to this crisis in a small island nation, is giving us a glimpse of the love we will find in heaven and I am truly grateful.
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.” (ICorinthians 13: 12-13)