I figure if things are making sounds they are asking you to listen.
* * *
Early, early in the morning. I am awake for no reason but since I am the thoughts have started rushing in and swirling around. First the details: schedule, after-school activities, the never-ending to do list. But then, louder: You are going to let everybody down. You will not be able to do this well. Who do you think you are, anyway? The fears and details need to be answered. They are quieted, often, when I turn to face them. But they are not the only thing to listen to in this early-morning dark. There are also the crickets outside. I can let the silver whir envelop me for a moment. I can hear it as the mating call of countless insects, yes, but I can just as easily hear it as something else, entirely: the fading-away of summer, a gilding of the dark air, the easy praise of a creature fulfilling its calling simply by being, by whirring.
* * *
If I have been quiet, these last few months, I have also been listening. It is something, I’m starting to believe, that requires the whole body.
Listen to the fears—we must, I suppose—but listen, also, to the crickets. The crickets should also be required listening.
Listen to the words on the page. Sitting down with a book recently has been like sitting down hungry to a good hot meal—the kind that brings forth an extra prayer, an exhaled Thank you as I take in the first bite. Often, when reading, the inhalation follows: Tell me. I want to eat the words, absorb their marrow into my own, internalize, understand, live the good I find.
This listening—I don’t know how my own voice fits in to it. I only know that it’s hard to listen when I'm making noise, myself. That too often the echo of my own voice makes me cringe.
I believe there are stories to tell. I know that the conversation I want to have with the world is not a conversation if I remain silent. But this deep quiet seems necessary. It is nourishment, it is fuel. It is something, maybe, taking shape.
And all around me there are requests to be heard:
Listen to the words of the song.
Listen to the pictures on the wall, in the book, in your memory.
Listen to the small hand that grabs yours, the eyes (big, deep, wide, scared, friendly) that seek out yours.
Listen to the friend who says she can’t take it anymore.
Listen to the voices everywhere that are frustrated, angry, hurt, afraid: Ferguson, Liberia, Iraq, Syria, Gaza.
Listen to the voices right there beside you in your life—what is asked, what is told, what is left out.
Listen to the wind, the birds, the sunrise.
Listen to what takes shape in your life.
Listen, and be changed.