Wednesday, March 31, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 21: Texting

I heard that oh-so-familiar blurp from David’s phone last night: a text! It was from our daughter, Brooke, who incidentally was in a college class at the time. (She reminded us of what a good multi-tasker she is.) For several minutes, we went back and forth, discussing options for the birthday cake Brooke is baking for Easter/my birthday/Laura’s birthday.

I thought later about the sound when a text arrives and how when I hear that sound I immediately check my phone. It’s like I’m a “Pavlov’s dog” and have been trained to respond to the buzzer and salivate. I don’t even answer my phone calls with that kind of diligence. A text happens in real time. It conveys short, vital bits of information and it usually warrants a response.

So, how does hearing the sound of a text speak to me spiritually? It causes me to ask, “Do I respond with that kind of trained intention when the Spirit sends me a message?” Of course, the answer is no. I often get those nudges to say or do something and too often I tune them out. How might I become more responsive to the sound of the Spirit’s texts? What would it be like if I acted with the same curiosity and interest? I think I will find out!

Monday, March 29, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 20: Laughter

Today is the second day of Holy week, a week that descends toward the dark desolation of Jesus’ betrayal, abandonment and death. It seems strange to write about the sound of laughter while on such a somber trajectory. Be patient with me.

When I awoke this morning, I had the odd recollection that at some point in the night, David woke me up laughing. I confirmed my suspicion and asked if he recalled doing so. He said, “Yes,” though he couldn’t remember what he was dreaming or why he was laughing as he lay next to me chuckling, spastically at first, and then almost uncontrollably. It made me laugh and still does as I think about it.

Laughter is such a contagious and unusual sound. Most people have a laugh all their very own. For instance, Eli, my grandson, is laughing now--sometimes even cackling. I have another friend whose piercing laugh is so jolting that in public it makes head’s turn. My mother-in-law has an hysterical laugh and when she gets going, she usually ends up crying she laughs so hard. Who can argue that laughter is a gift from God?

This morning as I meditated on this sound, I had an unusual picture come to mind. I imagined laughter as a spirit set free from a deep catacomb within my soul, released to dance and play. The scene that played in my mind was on Resurrection Sunday. Matthew 27: 51-53 records, “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”

This morning, I heard laughter as a sign of resurrection, what I look forward to at the culmination of this week. It’s the signal that death did not triumph; the tomb has been emptied; the spirit of laughter has been set free within each of us because Jesus died and rose again in victory over all that makes his and our heart weep.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 19: Rain

I awoke early this morning to the sound of rain. Yesterday was such a beautiful day, full of sunshine. I admit I felt disappointed. The sound of rain conjured the image of gloom and dreariness. Yet, after I got up and listened, the rain became an invitation to snuggle into the day and be still.

Whenever it rains, I often have the sensation of wanting to curl up in my bed or on my sofa and be still. Rain brings out my contemplative nature. I am aware of being inside, away from the elements of cold drizzle. I seek shelter and find security in being home.

So, this morning, the rain led me to seek the shelter of home—my home in God. As the droplets sputtered on the roof and windows of my house, my heart, in prayer, meandered toward my haven of Grace.

As I prayed, the image of God hiding me in the shelter of his wings, away from the drenching shower was a wonderful comfort to my heart. I know that right now you might feel a craving for shelter from the elements of your life. Might you turn into the path of prayer and seek refuge in him? Will you seek shelter in his presence?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 18: Hearing Confession

This morning, I sat in my usual spot--a low-to-the-ground, over-stuffed chair in my office--as I read and prayed. My laptop was to my right and open on my desk. The sound of the McAfee security system hummed as it scanned the entire contents of my hard drive and inbox, cleaning contaminants—anything of a virus-like nature.

I listened subconsciously as I sat in my chair. Then, at some point, I read in I Kings 15: 5. “For David had done what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and had obeyed the Lord’s commands throughout his life, except in the affair concerning Uriah the Hittite.” I was struck by the grace of God toward David that rather than define David’s life by this event of moral failure, God extended forgiveness and grace and took in the whole of David’s life.

At that point, I felt led into the Jesus prayer that I wrote about a few days ago: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I felt grateful and relieved to turn to Jesus and confess my own failures to him and receive his cleansing wash.

Confession is a gift. It’s that moment in our lives when we offer our tormented selves and twisted acts to Jesus. Immediately, what could have been the devastating and defining moments of our lives no longer are. Instead, the next step, the new day before us become the page upon which God continues our story.

How is it for you? Do you experience confession as a gift? Take some time right now and let the Spirit "scan your hard drive and inbox" and see if there is anything that needs cleansed. Receive Jesus' forgiveness as a gift and this new day as a clean page!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 16: Recurring Themes

One of my favorite symphonies is Dvorak’s New World. As a teenager, I would listen to it in my room and pretend that I was a conducting it. (Okay, I don’t know that I have ever admitted that to anyone.) It is a glorious piece of music with several prominent, recurring themes. I am humming one in my mind right now.

Recurring themes show up not only in music but also in literature, art and even conversations. Often, when I hear repeating ideas in different conversations I have with people, I take notice. I find it to be one of the ways that God speaks to me.

I had lunch with two friends yesterday. In the course of the exchange, we talked about some things we have been learning. What I found interesting is how all three of us have been thinking and reading about many of the same things. I heard recurring themes.

Do you notice when you begin to hear similar thoughts and expressions? As you participate in 30 Days of Hearing, don’t forget to listen to repeating patterns in the conversations you have. If you hear some, take time to ask God what they mean.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 16: Disquieted

I woke up this morning disquieted. I don’t know why, except that I remember dreaming a lot. The dreams I remember were not nightmarish, but for some reason unsettled my heart.

The sounds of my disquieted soul provoked me to seek God’s peace. I remembered the Jesus prayer and began to meditate on it. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This ancient prayer, practiced over centuries, has been a mantra of saints who long to live from a peaceful union with Christ.

The desert fathers and mothers of the 4th and 5th centuries used the Jesus prayer to practice “hesychia”, a Greek word for tranquility or peace, “a state in which the Christian, through grace and intense asceticism, reintegrated his or her whole being into a single person who is placed completely under the direct influence of the Trinity dwelling within….” (The Power of the Name, Alphonse and Rachel Goettmann)

As I repeated the Jesus prayer, meditated on each word, I was reminded that when I bring myself into God’s presence, it isn’t my ability to purge myself of sin or produce perfect piety that warrants Christ’s presence. It is Jesus’ mercy on me, a sinner—grace emanating from his nature--that welcomes me into his presence.

My heart is quiet now. It is well with my soul.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 15: Loud voices

I declared yesterday a personal health day. As you may have noticed, I haven’t blogged as regularly as in past 30 Days experiments. That’s because the last two months I have been working three jobs. Yeh. Not exactly the life of a contemplative. I am a part time resource consultant, a spiritual formation director and I have had speaking engagements almost every weekend in February and March. So, yesterday, with nothing on my calendar (except a hair appointment, which I would NEVER miss!), I declared a personal health day, or “Beth” day, as I often call it.

The whole point of a “Beth” day is to let my heart lead me toward whatever sounds good, sounds soul renewing. So, after my all-important hair appointment, I spontaneously called my son to see if he would like to go to lunch. (Did I mention that Brandt’s wife, Laura, is my stylist. Lucky her, right--having her mother-in-law for a client!) Brandt met me for lunch with our grandson, Eli, which is a big reason why my heart prompted me to make this call. Eli totally fills my heart with joy and refreshment.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived at Paradise Bakery was how loud it was. I sat waiting for Brandt and was almost deafened by the clamor of human voices echoing all around me. It wasn’t a pleasant sound but one I found myself wanting to get away from. When Brandt arrived, thankfully, we moved outside where it was more quiet.

After lunch, I headed to a favorite walking path that follows along a canal. Ahhhh….quiet, finally, except for the fact that it was a lovely spring day and there were many people walking on the path, often with a friend. Every time someone would pass me, my reverie was interrupted with loud voices.

Next, I decided to pop into the Indianapolis Art Museum. As I walked from the parking lot into this fabulous building, I thanked God for such an amazing gift—all free to the public. I started on the third floor with contemporary art. It didn’t really do it for me. Then I went to the American art floor and found more that drew my heart. As I positioned myself on a bench to absorb a particular painting, in walked a three-some who seemed to follow me the rest of my time. One of the persons, a female, had a particularly loud voice. Every time she saw a painting, she had the same reaction: “Oh, look at this one. I like this one. Isn’t it cool?” (Okay, so I thought to my self, “Surely you have a more elaborate vocabulary to describe your reaction to this masterpiece?!" I was a little cynical at this point.)

My last stop was a favorite coffee shop—where I actually had a glass of red wine. I chose a sunny spot, sat with my journal from this last year, reading through the pages, asking God to show me where I have been, where He has been with me over these last months. Sitting next to me was another women—another loud woman. She was talking on her phone to her parents. Sweet. But her voice was so loud!

If you haven’t discovered by now, my hearing experiment centered on picking up the piercing sound of human voices. As I reflect on this, I realize how distracted I am by the voices of people, unable to filter them like I might filter other sounds. Is that because they are my species? Is it because I am nosey and can’t help but hear what they say? Is it because they speak in a language I understand?

The human voice is a penetrating sound of which I contend every day. Sometimes, I need to not. I need to not hear people and just hear birds or water or wind. But for whatever reason, though yesterday felt like one of those days, it wasn’t to be. So, I finally gave in, talked to the woman next to me after she got off her cell phone. Heard all about her African Gray—a bird. (Don’t ask me how we got on the subject.) And then I came home and welcomed the quiet.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 13: White noise

We had house guests staying with us the last two nights—a family with two small girls. I noticed that when they put the girls to bed, they turned on a white noise fan. When I came upstairs, I could hear the dull hum coming from their room.

As I’m sure you know, the whole purpose of white noise is to drown out extraneous sounds that might otherwise distract or awaken us from our sleep. As I listened to the constant, monotonous din emanating from the girls room, it sounded so loud to me that I wondered how they were able to fall asleep. Perhaps they’ve been conditioned.

I wonder if I've been conditioned. What do I turn on to drown out sounds that I want to block? Or, maybe it’s not that intentional. I unconsciously turn to different forms of white noise and the affect is that I miss what’s going on around me and how the Spirit is speaking to me.

My white noise is most often the constant thoughts drumming through my head. I am always “processing” something and “in the process,” I undoubtedly miss important voices, songs, calls and echoes of life.

Do you know what the source of your white noise is? Is it external things you turn to like television, radio, computer, or Face book? Or is it internal, like mine? A churning mind, thinking about what you have to get done next, or reliving the past. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to turn the white noise fan off.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 12: Three-Dog Day

I grew up listening to the band, Three Dog Night. Loved their music. Loved to dance to their music! Any fans out there? Well, yesterday, I experienced a “three-dog day”—music that was not so pleasant nor inspiring to dance to.

My daughter Bri is on spring break from IU and home for a few days, along with her adorable pup, Rufio. Meanwhile, Brandt and Laura were in Chicago and left their dog, Amos, in our keep. So, Bongo, our canine creature makes for a “three dog day.”

As you can imagine, all this dog fur and dog paws makes it tough to keep the house clean. So, yesterday (and because we are having houseguests tonight:), I decided to mop the floor. Consequently, Bri had the odious job of taking the three dogs upstairs to my bedroom.

You would have thought they were being tortured! Amos, with his forlorn and desperate moan, began to howl. Bongo and Rufio joined in a chorus of yips, punctuated by moments of irritating playful yelps. Even from my vantage point downstairs, mopping the floor, I was about to lose my mind.

Their continuous and unrelenting barks were so distracting, I felt miserable that I couldn’t respond by letting them out. Their commotion pierced my hearing and became fodder for my 30 Days of Hearing and my spiritual journey. As I reflect, I think of the passage in Exodus 2 where God heard the desperate cries of the Israelites, suffering under Egyptian rule, and those cries got to him. He responded by sending Moses to lead them out of Egypt and back to the land that he promised them.

The mournful, desperate cries of the oppressed should wear on us. If we don’t hear, don’t notice, don’t attend to them, we are deaf to the world of which God tunes in. Whose pitiful calls for help are you responding to? Who of the oppressed and marginalized, those suffering injustice, do you notice and move toward to free? Pay attention today to the sounds of the living around you who feel locked up in a room somewhere, longing to be set free.

Monday, March 15, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 11: Counsel

To whom do you go for counsel? If you were to seek advice about God’s path for you, whose guidance would you listen to?

Yesterday, I read an odd story in I Kings 13—one that I didn’t remember reading before. It told of a prophet whom God sent to prophesy against King Jeroboam. Afterwards, God gave him strict instructions to leave by a different route than he came and not to eat anything while he was there. But on his way home, an old prophet from the town came after him. The old prophet contradicted God’s directions to the man, but because he was a prophet, the man followed his counsel. This decision ultimately led to his death.

The story piqued my interest. I found myself identifying with the prophet, knowing that I would likely have done the same—listened to the counsel of someone whom I perceived to be from "the same school” as me. I am more susceptible to believe another’s counsel who is like me, who speaks my language. What the story underscores is how important it is to know your own heart’s counsel, what God has made clear to you. Even people who think like you and come from a similar place can lead you off-track.

Here are some questions for spiritual direction:
  • What do you know to be God’s values and directions for you today?
  • Whose advice are you listening to? Does it confirm what you already know in your heart?
  • Have you veered away from following God’s path? If so, how can you return to the path he has called you to follow?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 10: Listening to the voices within

I am currently receiving training to offer spiritual direction; a wonderful ministry of attentive listening, helping a person identify where God is at work in his or her life and how God is inviting him or her to respond. In many ways, it is helping a person listen to the voices within—the voice of the Abiding Christ and the voice of one’s own abiding heart.

For whatever reason, we all experience resistance when it comes to listening to both voices. This morning, as I spent time praying, I found myself distracted, drawn away from “being” with God and switching gears toward “doing” for God. It seems that being held in silence by God is an uncomfortable and unnatural venture. Yet, of all spiritual practices, it may be the one that is most restoring and re-pairing.

Consider the words of Henri Nouwen about listening to the voice within:

“Have you ever tried to spend a whole hour doing nothing but listening to the voice that dwells deep in your heart? ... It is not easy to enter into the silence and reach beyond the many boisterous and demanding voices of our world and to discover there the small intimate voice saying: "You are my Beloved Child, on you my favor rests." Still, if we dare to embrace our solitude and befriend our silence, we will come to know that voice.”

Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved

Rather than an hour, why not spend five or ten minutes of listening to the voice that dwells deep in your heart? Here are some suggestions:

  • Begin by breathing deeply, calming yourself and “locating” yourself within your own body. (That may sound strange, but often we are so over-identified with our thinking that we forget we are not our thinking and that we live in our body.)
  • Feel the presence of God within you. Sometimes it helps to imagine an image, like John 15, where Jesus describes himself as a vine, you, and me as a branch. Picture abiding in Jesus like a branch in a vine.
  • Stay still in that place. “Cease striving and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10).” Rest. Relax. Dwell with Christ.
  • When your mind moves you away with a distracting thought, brush it aside with a mental broom. Don’t get down on yourself. Just say, “No, not now.” And then return to your place of abiding with Jesus.
  • Listen. Listen for the voices within. What is your heart telling you? Lean into Christ with great attention, eager to hear his whisper. What is he saying? If nothing comes, just enjoy being with Jesus. Like a little child, enjoy resting with him.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 9: Fiddlin’ and toe tappin

On Tuesday, I drove to Angola and Ft. Wayne related to my role as a resource consultant with the Center for Congregations. It was a 2 ½ hour drive each way. Thankfully, the sun was shining and the traffic was sparse. On the way there, I purposefully didn’t listen to the radio or a CD. I basked in the silence and sunshine of the morning and spent a good deal of the time praying.

On the way back, I was a little tired and sleepy. So, I popped in a CD of the group, Time for Three, a group of three hip, young fiddlers, and let them help me pass the time. Their music is a wonderful fusion of old tunes improvised with fresh style and, occasionally, they break out in blue grass fashion. That’s when my toe started tapping.

I noticed that I couldn’t restrain my left foot from keeping time with the music. I had to move as I listened. I’m that way. Even when I played French horn in an orchestra (my major at IU), I always tapped my foot with the music. These fiddles were no exception. The punch of their down beat, the edge of their rhythms, got my blood flowin’ and my foot tappin’ all the way home.

Isn’t it interesting that often when we hear music we want to dance? What is it about certain kinds of music that entice our bodies to keep time with the sounds we hear? For me, it’s an uncontrolled response. Certain rhythms wake up my limbs and provoke my feet to move. I want to participate with the sounds, not just observe them.

Yesterday, I was thankful to have an accompaniment to my journey home. How might the sounds of the Spirit accompany me throughout my day? How can the daily rhythms of life invite me to dance with God?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 8: Bird Songs

The sun has been shining for three days—an occasion to celebrate for those who live in this part of the country! Spring is teasing us, playing peek-a-boo and today I fell for it. I had to get out and take a walk, drink in the sunshine. As I walked on a familiar path, I noticed a symphony of bird songs in surround sound.

Cardinals sang their lyrical songs.
Red-winged blackbirds blew their whistled songs.
A flicker of red-bellied woodpecker hammered his song.
Robins composed their common, modest songs.
Flocks of Canadian geese honked in chorus—sounding the most boisterous songs.
Tree swallows chirped while playing catch-me-if-you-can.
Blue birds—yes, two!—made no discernable sound but dazzled in the morning light.

I thoroughly enjoyed a concert this morning. The field was the stage upon which each bird played his or her tune. At the end, I gave them and their Conductor a standing ovation!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 4 – 7: My hearing journal

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been out of town for a few days. I went to Cincinnati to participate in the School of Spiritual Direction at Sustainable Faith. We meet in a former convent. Then on Friday afternoon, I headed back to Indianapolis to speak at a retreat. Even though I didn’t have the ability to blog, I did listen for sounds of God in each day. Here is a journal of what I heard.

Wednesday night, I lay in bed in black darkness and heard the sound of a train in the distance. The whistle sounded lonely—perhaps because it had no company in the silence of the night. It was a nostalgic sound, taking me back to my childhood when I would lie in bed and listen to the whistle of a train that ran close to my home. The piercing trill established a truth in me, one of reckoning with the fact that there is a world “out there” that is separate from me and me from it.
My heart:
Thursday, I spent the morning listening to my heart. I had things planned to do, but my purpose in going a day early to the convent was to listen to what was going on inside my heart. I discovered something surprising—a belief that God was holding back from me. Once I realized my folly, God and I talked with renewed intensity and intimacy. The next morning, as I was waking up, I “heard” the Scripture running through my mind, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

On Friday, our spiritual direction cohort met for the first time. I sat next to Todd, a very funny and tender man who often keeps us in stitches. We were discussing how our commitments to certain spiritual practices were going and in the midst, from my left, I heard that unique, one-of-a-kind sound of Velcro. Todd was putting on his yoga shoes! (I had never seen yoga shoes—quite interesting, if I might add.) Velcro makes such an unusual sound; I think I would recognize it anywhere. As I heard the Velcro, I was aware of the tightly enmeshed bond the two pieces of fabric make with each other. A tight bond is formed that requires effort and exertion to tear loose. It reminded me of the bond I have with God, with David and my kids, with friends.

I spoke at a retreat on Friday and Saturday, which was held at a Catholic retreat center. While I was there, a number of times I heard chimes, presumably a signal for one of the fixed hours of prayer. What a different life, to be governed by prayer, by rhythms of prayer that are initiated by the sounds of lyrical chimes. I find myself drawn to a monastic life, at times. I imagine each day having a slower, more deliberate, pace. My heart tells me that I would be living closer to God, perhaps closer to the way God intended me to live, if I quit living by a clock and, instead, lived by fixed hours of prayer.

Ludivico Einaudi
It’s Sunday afternoon, probably my favorite time of my week. As is often the case, David and I are relaxing, listening to music. He found a new pianist named Ludivico Einaudi. His music is haunting, melancholy and passionate. I treasure being home, sitting in the same room with my lover, hearing music with the ears of my soul and "being." I appreciate the simple pleasures of life, pleasures that are so abundant to me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 3: Splash

This morning, David and I took our dog, Bongo, and Brandt and Laura’s dog, Amos, for a walk on the golf course near our home. Clipping along at a pretty good pace, suddenly we heard a splash! I turned around and looked behind us and saw that Amos had gotten separated from us by a creek and tried to cross it to catch up. Once he decided that wasn't such a good idea, he began to claw feverishly at the soft earth of the embankment, scaling up its steep side. It was a tense moment as this 90 lb. dog, strong but cumbersome, made his way to land and back across the bridge to us.

As I thought about sounds today, the sound of splash stood out. I heard it before I saw it. That kind of sound can often be frightening, at least when the sound is dramatic, loud or unexpected. Had we not heard, we might have continued on, not noticing that Amos was not with us.
Sound is often used as a warning—like a siren or storm alert to stop us in our tracks.

How has God used sound to stop me in my tracks? To signal that I have become separated from him?

· The sound of tears—my own or those of a loved one.
· The sound of angry words—my own or those of a loved one.
· The sound of crashing—when I drop things, bump into things, hit things because I am moving too fast.
· The sound of noise in my head—when I can’t rest or when I have no peace.

How has God used sound to stop you? What signals are you hearing as warnings? Will you listen?

P.S. I will be gone for a few days to participate in my second School of Spiritual Direction Cohort at Sustainable Faith Community in Cincinnati. I will catch you up on my hearing when I return on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 2: Listening to our knowing heart

For the last couple of days, I’ve been spending a lot of time in my head. My mind has been over active, over analyzing things that I’m involved with in my work. I haven’t been able to settle my mind down. It’s exhausting.

Tilden Edwards from the Shalem Institute says that we can live out of our ego, our analytical mind or our knowing heart. I have been functioning from my analytical mind, for sure. All three are ways we think and the place from which we live our life. The ego drives us. The analytical mind sifts through life as we go. But the knowing heart leads us wisely.

This morning, aware of the voices in my head, I spent some time in centering prayer. Once my mind was calm, I listened to my heart. Once I did, I knew how to live.

If you feel like you are on an unrelenting mental treadmill, consider trying this:
• Take several cleansing breaths.
• Begin to focus your mind on seeking God in prayer.
• Any time a distracting thought enters your mind, sweep it away.
• Then return your attention to God and enjoy him.
• Finally, once your mind is calm, listen to what your heart is saying.
• Write down anything that comes to mind.

Monday, March 1, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 1: Footsteps

This morning, as I sat in bed, sipping my morning coffee and “coming to,” I reminded myself that today was the beginning of 30 Days of Hearing. About that moment, I “heard” footsteps. David was walking from the kitchen toward the stairs to bring me a refill of coffee (yes, I am totally spoiled—I admit it!) and I heard his familiar slippered steps padding up the stairs. I felt grateful as I heard him come.

Footsteps—sometimes barely perceptible, at other times sharp and distinctive—stir a host of feelings from joy and anticipation to fear and dread. I recall hearing the footsteps of a toddler approaching the side of my bed to crawl in; or the footsteps of my grown daughter, clopping around in her high-heels; or the footsteps of a stranger walking behind me in a parking lot. Each evoked strong feelings just from hearing the sound.

The way we feel when we hear the sound of someone’s steps has to do with whether we know them and what we think they are coming for. Adam and Eve heard God’s footsteps in the garden and were filled with dread and fear. “Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” (Genesis 3:10)

Here is a question for spiritual direction: If you heard God’s footsteps coming toward you, how would you feel? Why? What does that tell you about your relationship with God?