Last night was the first time in a very long time that I made a point of watching the national news. It’s not that I’m not interested in what’s going on in the world, but I’m not interested in the almost panicked way in which the opening reports are shared. I actually can feel my pulse increase and fear rise in my heart, even after all this time.
This morning, as I opened the internet to a news site, I took notice that of the top 20 stories, the first 10 of them were all about COVID-19 and the effects of the pandemic on each of us, as well as how the economy has been harmed. All of the reports sound the alarm of “Be prepared for the next moment of doom!” It is enough for me to run from my computer and shut myself in my bedroom and declare that I’m hibernating until 2021 or until the pandemic ends.
As we run around and echo Henny Penny’s cries that the sky is falling, I believe we have forgotten the sacredness of our lives; every event down to our heartbeat and our very breath.
I am reminded of this as I continue my series on listening. Kay Lindahl, author of The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice, writes, “Our lives are really about sacred experiences.”1 Especially at a time in which the future is uncertain, we need to stop and truly listen to the sweet whisper of God all around us. He “speaks to us in tender undertones, underscoring the harsh reality of our human life. Thus our invitation to be quiet: ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’” (Psalm 46:10) 2
By listening to this quiet found only in God, we open up ourselves to the sacredness found not only in ourselves but in others. By sitting in this holy ground, we can actually discuss questions on the meaning of life and the nature of death. In this place, there is no room for shocking images, threats of global obliteration, shouts of anger and hostility, and violence of any kind. This is the place where our flesh meets our Creator. This is the place where our tininess is merely magnified because God comes down and meets us where we are, proving to us that we are indeed not alone. He is there holding us when we cry. He is there jumping for joy when we perform our own happy dance. He is there in the midst of all human activity reminding us of something more: that He is here!
Are you truly listening underneath and beyond the screams and shouts of social media, television and radio? Can you hear the heartbeat of God that is beating in union with all humanity?
Perhaps this is the greatest challenge of our time. Because in the storms of our lives, God screams out, “Be still!” This is true peace, which the Holy Spirit invites us to not only experience but also share.
Are you not there yet? Have you not had the experience of hearing this silence? Do not be put off, because God is waiting for you. Remember, He meets us where we are and calls us deeper into Him.
Be still. He is truly God. He loves you wherever you are.
1Lindahl, Kay. The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice. SkyLight Paths Pub., 2002. Pg. 61
2 Bevere, Lisa. “I Hear God’s Most Gentle Whisper.” Messenger International, Messenger International, 20202-06-30, messengerinternational.org/blog/devotional/when-god-whispers
By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, Special to The Witness