Listen!

“He has achieved success who has worked well, laughed often, and loved much.”~~Elbert Hubbard
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Wordthink, is apocryphal. I actually was not aware of the correct definition of this word, which means “Of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true.”

Today is Tell A Fairy Tale Day. “Once upon a time, there lived . . .” I am a fan of the fairy tale. I prefer the way they were originally written, however. Much darker than the “Disney-fied” versions.

The “free lunch” yesterday was pretty good. The brats were “beer brats,” however, and I much prefer the regular kind. Not a fan of beer, here, and I can taste it in the brats. However, the lunch was “free,” so that’s all I’ll say about that. They weren’t bad. I put “free” in quotation marks because I will always and forever hold to the adage, TANSTAAFL, which, of course, means “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.”

Today is Friday, but this means little for me, today, as I have to work tomorrow. Which also reminds me that there will, most likely, not be a blog entry tomorrow. Or, it might happen after work. I’ll see how the day is going.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.
Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many— terror on every side!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.

Psalm 31:9-13

Here we see David being totally open and honest before God in prayer, laying out every agonizing detail. The Psalms show us that this is an acceptable way to pray to God, and many of us, in modern days, miss out on this opportunity. God is a “sympathetic listener. The prayer process enables us to see suffering as God sees it and to begin to participate in his redemption of it.”

“O God, because of Gethsemane and Calvary, I know there is neither humiliation or pain that is beyond the power of your resurrection. I place every hurt before you in the sure hop of your salvation. Amen.”

Whenever I read Psalm 31:13, I am reminded of this Phil Keaggy song, “The Survivor.”

In today’s Daily Guidposts reading, Mark Collins writes of a trip taken with his wife’s grandmother. To introduce her, he tells us that she “was a lovely woman who managed to raise two successful daughters despite her eighth-grade education, a retail-job budget, and a husband who was a husband in name only.” They had decided to drive her to Washington, D.C., from Pittsburgh. As they entered the turnpike, Mark asked the grandmother, “So how’ve you been, Mrs. Hughes?”

She started with her birth on January 13, 1912, and “didn’t let up for the next 236.7 miles. No detail was spared–none.” when they got to D.C., she had only gotten to 1953. “I’ll tell you the rest on the way home,” she said.

It probably took about fifteen seconds to read that story, but it took four and a half hours to hear. How often do we do this “shorthand summary” of our lives with people? “He’s the new guy from the Cleveland office,” or, “She’s the exchange student from Brazil.” We say these things as if that tells everything there is to tell about a person. We work for hours over a resume, trying to condense a lifetime of experience onto one 8 1/2 X 11 piece of paper. “We retreat to sweeping generalizations and platitudes, hoping cliches can convey what sentiment eludes us.”

We are not resumes; we are not synopses. Our lives are larger than language can convey. The good news is that we pray to “Someone Who knows our hearts and not our words, Someone Who knows all of our stories, Someone Who will listen for four and one-half hours while we share exactly just who we are as we find our way home.”

This reading has struck a nerve in my heart. We don’t listen any more. I’m guilty of that. I have “friends” at church. I hardly know them. When was the last time I sat down and had a four hour conversation with anyone?? Some of the most fascinating and engaging conversations I have had are sitting and listening to my parents talk about their past. I wish I had written some of it down.

We need to regain this lost talent of listening to one another. But praises be, we have a God who still listens, and he will listen while we rattle on about things he already knows. Somehow, and I will never comprehend how, he manages to listen to every one of us.

And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Proverbs 7:24
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this. Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home? You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great! Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? Job 38:18-23
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. Psalm 84:3

Father, teach me to listen, and then remind me that I can share anything that I need to with you. Let me not be hesitant to go into detail with you as I pray to you.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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