“Nothing is more personal or intimate than listening.” Matt Knisely, Framing Faith
A couple of years ago, my spunky, speaks-her-mind, mother-in-law sat at one end of our kitchen island talking football when our middle daughter and her friend walked in. Anna hugged her grandmother and introduced her friend, Anthony, a high school football wide receiver.
They all chatted for a few minutes then Anthony turned to greet our youngest daughter, and my spunky mother-in-law blurted, “Anthony, you’re not listening to me!”
“Oh! Sorry!” he stammered, blushed, and immediately turned back.
Laughter erupted from all corners of the kitchen. Anthony had officially been introduced to my vibrant, redheaded, mother-in-law, who, though she’d spoken in jest to Anthony, had also voiced the often unspoken words of our own hearts.
Our longing to be heard.
To be loved. Right where we are. Right in the messy midst. Without masks. Nothing retouched or colored or smoothed or erased or tweaked.
Naked and unashamed.
Like Adam and Eve in the garden before the Fall with nothing between them but love. No fear or guilt. No anger or frustration. Nothing lurking in the shadows. No unspoken longing. No skeletons in the closet.
Two souls, pure and holy and sinless. In full communion with each other and with God.
As we were created to be. One. To the very marrow of our bones.
“…the LORD God formed the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman….” Genesis 2:22
Bone of Adam’s bone all the way to the marrow.
But one bite forever altered that. Now it’s risky to reveal our imperfections, to let the wrinkles show, to divulge our unkempt edges. For love is messy. Sin has muddied the waters, shrouded the truth, and shadowed our vision of God.
It’s swung wide the door of loneliness and isolation.
Today we long to be heard. Beyond the distractions. Beyond the noise of a thousand thoughts careening in our brains. Beyond the crush of endless to-do lists and frenetic schedules.
Matt Knisely says it so well in his book, Framing Faith: “We’ve forgotten that listening is our conscious contextual navigation system. Rather we’ve become unconsciously aware. We check out. Disconnect. Get preoccupied…. Distracted by the subtle…. Distracted by our commitments…. Distracted by fear…. Distractions rob us of hearing the voices around us, and the Voice within us.”
Listening is a rare and precious gift. A gift that shares burdens and carries mats. A gift that locks arms and links heart across time and space, abolishing boundaries and raining grace.
We long to be heard. To be known. To be loved. Soul deep. We long for the rhythm and cadence and timbre of our words, our lives, our stories, to be heard. To matter.
To win Matt’s incredible book, just share in the comments an observation, an image, or a story you discovered by pausing to listen.
A moment when the light streamed in and eternity shone through. A moment where the clamor stilled and the still, small Voice spoke.