“Listen to your life,” wrote the preacher and novelist Frederick Buechner. If you were to pay close attention to the murmurs and moans, cheers and chuckles, sighs and songs of your life the way it is right now, what would their collective message be? Are you ready to hear it?
At night when you lie down the ambient silence amplifies the inner sounds. Then you have hardly any option but to listen. Pain that has never found its way to becoming an outward tear, wail, or whimper etches itself on the walls of the heart. In the still of night you hear the scratching sound of the etching most loudly (sometimes the sting is almost physical). Thoughts and emotions that were crowded out by the day’s demands now lace your solitude like scents: some pungent, some perfume-like—but all linked to certain memories and feelings (if only making sense of them were as easy as the child’s game of connecting the dots). But the engagement doesn’t last for long. Soon the eyes droop in sleep and the whole body is anesthetized. Then it is time for dreams, the cacophony of the subconscious, to sound off and be heard.
You open a book and some words leap off the pages, piercing the heart or setting the wheels of the mind in motion. Listen—for the resonance is rarely coincidental or meaningless. The personal reflections and thoughts of some distant writer can very well be your own. “That which is most personal is most universal,” observes Henri Nouwen. Bits of literature, music, or any art form that suddenly grips you are likely to bear a message you most need to hear—and heed—at that particular season of your life.
Random thoughts excavated from my computer files. Written during the blog dry spell of over one month.