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.
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.
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.