This morning, I went to a park near my house. There are walking paths covered with tiny gravel that go around and through the grassy area of the park. There are also trails that go a bit into what as a child I would have called "the woods." These trails are not covered with gravel. Just plain dirt hardened by many feet over the years. When I'm on the walking paths, my steps are loud - crunch, crunch, crunch. When I step of onto the trails, my steps go silent, or at least much more quiet.
I find I can hear myself breathe. If I listen, I can hear my heart, not the beating, but the emotions - joy, fear, hope, and anxiety all stirred together. Then if I listen harder, I can finally hear beyond myself, beyond my own footsteps and my own self awareness. I can hear birds, and insects, and something small scurrying through the leaves on the ground. Finally, I can hear the hearts of those around me, my friend who started a new job today, and another whose mother was finally freed from a world of machines and tubes and released into eternity.
As I leave the woods and step back on the path, the crunch, crunch, crunch threatens to drown out the really important sounds of life. I must strive to focus my listening as much as I focus my vision to hear what our God would have me hear.
What are you hearing today?