Friday, May 22, 2009

Hearing God?

Last year I was asked to write a little essay for my church's newsletter. I was told it could be anything about my faith experience. In a moment of weakness, I choked out a "Yes, I'll write something." The following essay is what ended up on paper. I was reminded of this essay last week when I had coffee with a new friend. In the context of sharing a story about advice she had given a relative, my friend spoke words... words that I really needed to hear... words that were lovingly direct. The words were coming out of my friend's mouth, but as far as I'm concerned, I definitely heard God speaking. I continue to be amused, grateful, and delighted that God is so creative in engaging with me.

Hearing God?

Often I imagine God  is walking around with a huge network, finger pressed to ‘redial’ saying, “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” I am  able to hear God…sometimes. 

I am able to hear God when I do the dishes and sometimes when I cook, but never when I do laundry.

I am able to hear God when I go for a  run, take a shower, and when I drive somewhere by myself. 

On a sunny day last summer, I think I heard God answer one of my BIG LIFE questions, but it makes me nervous and uneasy. So, maybe I won’t totally acknowledge it yet. (This might be considered ‘denying the call.’) 

I am able to hear God when I hold a baby, hold my husband’s hand, and when I stare at my children while they sleep. 

Last February, I heard God say, loud and clear, through my panic and fear, high upon the side of a flat-topped pyramid, “You need to let go of her hand.” An internal, spiritual & emotional, power struggle ensued: The parental primal need to protect vs. the power of faith to literally “Let Go and Let God.” I still haven’t quite recovered from that surrendering episode. 

I am able to hear God when I play the piano, walk  or have coffee with a friend, and sometimes when I read a book, or hear a song.

I am able to hear God when I eat lunch by myself, mow the lawn, and paint the porch. 

I’ve  heard God calling my name in the middle of the night.  At least I think it was God. It definitely wasn’t my husband or children; They were sound asleep. I didn’t realize  in the moment that the voice was God and so I turned over and drifted back to sleep myself.  I wish I’d had the where-with-all to say, “Yes, I’m listening.” 

I am able to hear God when I go to the beach to walk , or look for stones and shells, or to just breathe in the view.

I am able to hear God when I’m  doing so many other things, but rarely am I able to hear God when I pray. 

Lately, I am able to hear God more clearly when I sit down with a pen and a blank piece of paper. With a grateful  and open heart and no preconceived notions of how the writing should evolve, I am enlightened in some wonderfully unexpected ways. The writing, itself, is not stellar, but  it doesn’t need to be .  The process has become an engaging prayer. I experience more of a ‘dialogue’ with God  this way and the personal/ spiritual connection is deep and scary and intriguing. 

My faith in and relationship with God is a work in progress.  I am still learning, yearning,  and trying to understand it all ~ it is hard and frustrating at times, especially when I can’t hear God.  But, I know from a place deep inside my soul that even if I can’t hear God, God can always hear me.  And, I am  so thankful that God is forgiving and persistent and endlessly creative in trying to connect with me.  “Can you hear me now?” 


Linda said...

This entry moved me to tears. Thank you for putting such complex feelings into words.

bwk said...

I'm so touched that it moved you. I cried a puddle of tears writing it.

Heather said...

:) This is amazing.... I'm really learning what it means for me to really hear God .. in all the crazy modes he chooses to speak to me!!
I loved reading this!

bwk said...

Heather, you found my blog :) I guess it wasn't that hard... I'm glad you liked the essay!

Marianne said...

I just had a chance to read your post. Someone should have warned me not to read it at work! I am not only crying tears of joy... I am sure that I hear God in your message. Beautiful.

Rev. Elsa Peters said...

It's nice to see this again, Betsy. Thanks for being willing to share this with your church.

Spottedstar said...

hmmmmmm, i like it!