I was listening to Morning Edition during my commute today and I heard something that made me think. During a plug for supporting public media the announcer said that "sometimes it is worth it to stop everything and just to listen." I'm pretty sure that they were talking about that moment when you put your shopping or appointments on hold for a few minutes to stay in your parked car to listen to an NPR story that has captured your attention, which I have done and I wholeheartedly feel that that is a worthy cause I feel that this phrase has much deeper applications.
Often times in New England I feel that efficiency is so highly prized that quick response and action are prioritized higher than actually listening to what people are saying, processing it and responding thoughtfully. How often do we miss what other people say or even respond with a completely inappropriate ("not making sense" not "naughty" inappropriate)response? One i have caught myself saying is: when some says,"What's new?" I will respond "fine thank you, how are you?" First of all they didn't ask how I was, they asked what was new in my life. Second, I'm assuming that they won't actually care about my response to I answer "fine" instead of how I really am. craziness!!!!
Imagine the implications in everyday life if we, even for just one day, made an intentional effort to actually listen to what everyone said to us and to respond after first thinking about what they said and how we should respond. I can imagine that while some people would be flattered or intrigued, others will become easily frustrated by not receiving a response at the speed that they expect.
But even deeper than that, God frequently calls us to "stop and just listen." This is so unamerican. Stopping everything, all the multitasking, worrying, juggling and spinning plates, to listen to someone Who wants to focus on Him alone. If anyone else were to demand this type of attention it would seem absurd and yet this is exactly what God calls us to do, to "be still and know that He is God." Most times He doesn't even want to tell us what to do but reveal a part of who He is! Reading God's Word, prayer, church, the sacraments, all of these are ways that God speaks to us and these are all things that should never be multitasked. God deserves a singular focus.
I remember a speaker talking about being still and allowing things to settle during that stillness. She used the visual of a mason jar filled with swirling muddy water, you couldn't see anything other than brown, but when she let it sit eventually the dirt settled to the bottom and the sticks and rocks that were previously hidden became perfectly visable. I think that there are probably imbedded sins and idols that are easy to hide when I am busy, God is calling me to be still so that I have to focus on Him and to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal and root out those sins.
Random bit of wisdom from WNPR.