It’s All In The Reaching Up {A little lesson in listening}

She was the latest of my children to begin the mastery of speech, but once she did, quiet moments were rare and coincided with her sleep schedule.

She had much to say mostly about princesses and how Disneyland needed her to come visit the castle.

She seemed to have an opinion about everything, and often rattled through her day grumbling or singing happy tunes, depending on her mood. And she had moods because she was three.

She would come beside me and pull me close to her and whisper in my ear. And funny girl, when she whispered, she had nothing to say.

She just whispered wind.

But she loved the idea of a secret to share.

She whispered with the posture of a sage as if her words carried great import.

The meaning wasn’t in the words, the value was in the sharing.

And the treasure was that it was my ear that she reached for, my attention she craved.

So I leaned in and listened for a trace of purpose to her shushing speech, not to hear great things, but to get nearer to her heart.

Because what girl will share big secrets to a parent who could not bend and pause to hear the little ones? Could she trust me with the weightier stuff of life if I had not handled the nonsense handled with equal care?

Because I knew this girl and loved her for it. I knew that expression was her talent and relationships her medium.

She would toddle away, secret told, and get lost in a world of make-believe where families of dolls, or worms, or grapes, or even her own chubby fingers had she nothing to manipulate, would talk to one another. I could see her making one be a daddy, one a brother, one a beautiful-princess-sister, one a kitten…and they would all talk to one another in a world of words.

These miniature characters were chattering about lunch or the park or a beautiful dress, but I could hear their words distilling into a few magical phrases: Do you hear me? Are you listening? You matter to me; am I important to you? Are you really listening?

###

I love the LORD because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath! {Psalm 116:1-2}

At church we began a new series called Listen!

The takeaway message was this: God leans in to hear us, because he loves us. He descends to respond to our craving for nearness to him.

It isn’t the clarity of our speech, the grand persuasive nature of our phrases, our eloquence or intelligence, but our reaching up to Him that matters most.

He always bends to listen.

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4 Comments

Filed under Faith, life, Parenting

4 responses to “It’s All In The Reaching Up {A little lesson in listening}

  1. Well said. Point made… The subject matter valuable. The Father, well He’s the Father of the cosmos. The child… Absolutely adorable… What a blessing from the Father to you, the mother. I’ll listen to my youngest today. It’s not just whispers at 13, but should be a blessing all the same. Just needed a reminder…

    • No, 13 year olds don’t whisper… and sometimes they don’t say anything that seems to matter, but you know it’s there, under the surface. Sometimes they say it in a slumped posture or a happy bounce or a fit of giggles — that’s the fun part, trying to decipher the message underneath. She’s blessed to have a listening daddy. So many girls don’t….

  2. What an adorable child, you’re so lucky. I wish that I could believe that there is some great presence or almighty being listening to me but the odds are very great that I am abandoned, I am happy that you have found joy in life. In the end that’s all that really matters.

    • Hello Nowhere Man
      Welcome to Here.
      If you are abandoned, then, so am I. If I’m not abandoned then neither are you. It is a universal leaning into the heart of humanity that I wrote about. Preferential treatment is something we mistakenly believe that God is capable of, but I have proof he doesn’t work that way. I’m glad your here and out there and looking around and asking questions…. There is joy, sometimes, but mostly, especially over the past year (which has been the hardest on record in my life) I would say there is more peace when I face things I feel I don’t have the strength to face. Please come back again, ask questions and know that doubting is really part of the process of learning the rhythm of grace.
      Alyssa

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