Faith to Listen ~

Last year it was faith  the word that I chose to reflect upon throughout the year.   When I mentioned the word faith to a friend, she stated, “Ah ~ Faith… the opposite of fear”.  I love it when someone can state something so clear and simple, yet so powerful at the same time.   In fact, I wrote down Trish’s definition of faith, and it is kept on my desk, where I see it daily.

Faith is something that has usually been fairly easy for me, not always, but usually.  Being raised by women and men of strong faith probably has had something to do with how I feel about it, but my faith also has to do with what I know.  I know that as much as I would like to say that I have complete control over my life and its destiny, I do not.  I can plan with the best of them, but then a few unforeseen monkey wrenches get thrown into the mix, and my so-called plan is in shambles.  The faith part leaves me wondering if my plan was just a stepping-stone to the real plan ~ His plan.  Faith has allowed me to believe in my journey, as it’s my life’s path, knowing that He is guiding me through it.

Now some days, that journey is as pleasant as a hike up a beautiful mountain; it leaves me reflecting on all the beauty that surrounds me.  Other days, the journey may leave me shaking my head, Linda Blair style… a full 360, if it was humanly possible.  Those are the days when the faith is tested, and I remember the words that Mom use to repeat often, this too, shall pass ~  There is a strong comfort in those words, as they bring awareness that many troubles are just road bumps in life, a small sliver of the overall journey.  Just what is it that can be learned from the troubles?  There is always a lesson to be learned, about a situation or yourself; it just takes the ability to listen.  Ram Dass said it best when he stated, “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”

OneWord2013_Listen

Listen ~ My focus word for this year ~

 

This world that we live in is a crazy, fast-paced, hectic, out-of-control, roller-coaster ride on any given day.  Just turn on the news, any news, and that should give anyone reason to wonder, what the hell?  I guess that word faith is being put to the test ~ Big Time!  But when you listen, and hear the lack of common sense in some of what is being reported, it should cause us all to pause and question ~ why?  What is the lesson that we are meant to learn from all of this madness?

Are people not listening to one another?  We can’t communicate with each other, if we’re unwilling to listen; talking is only half of the process of communication.  How many tragedies could be avoided if we all listened with 100% attention?  I’m not saying that we can solve all of the world’s problems, but we can learn to listen more effectively, as well as to speak more assertively.  Who knows, logic might even be heard, if we let go of our own agenda long enough to focus on another’s words and concerns.

You know when listening is not taking place… that moment in the conversation when the speaker is speaking and the listener is saying, “U-huh, u-huh, m-huh, m-huh”.  That’s the moment when I know that my words are coming across as, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”.  It’s also the moment when I want to break out in song.  Something. Anything, to break the U-huhs!  Just the other day, I had one such conversation, where I was the u-huher, and my daughter was the blah-blaher.  She has more decorum than I, when it comes to being put off.

While wrapping the last of the Christmas gifts, my daughter approached me to tell me about her day.  The gift, right there, is that she still loves to tell me, and she’s a teenager!  Keeping in mind that I was wrapping presents, and not learning surgical skills, I should have listened to her with 99.8% percent of my attention (.2 percent focusing on the scissors).  Seriously, I have wrapped presents for the better part of my life; I could do it blindfolded, and do it well!

As she proceeded with the details of her day, I started the u-huh, u-huh, u-huh – quick nodding of my head, the annoyance of being interrupted.  For crying-out-loud, wrapping-interruptous… doesn’t she know that I don’t have elves?  She quietly walked away in the middle of an u-huh, and I quickly thought, good for her, I would have, too!  What rotten behavior on my part; it left me remembering my parents, and how they attentively listened to me.

It was a different time, a simpler time.  There was no Internet, texting, e-mailing, you know… keeping up with EVERYTHING at the press of a button.  People kept up with the important things, by sitting down and listening.  Talking in the car, talking on the golf course, talking over coffee, it was eye to eye, and there seemed to be more of it.  Talking AND listening.  Sometimes it’s what’s not said, that you hear the most; it’s all in an expression.

This past December, while partaking in the annual Christmas cookie bake-off, I was pleasantly reminded of my father’s ability to listen ~ he still has it.  While my job is to man the oven ~ dough in, cookies out, my daughters and my father mix, decorate, and discuss.  While listening to their conversations about each other’s lives, in general, I’m reminded of the gift of listening; the importance of validating someone’s thoughts and feelings, by eye contact, a touch, or simply rephrasing what was said.  They all three do it well~

This year it is listen… the word that I choose to reflect upon throughout the year.

Not only will I attempt to be a more attentive listener to others, I first must have the faith to listen to myself ~

I did not purposefully choose a word to reflect upon this year, until I was reading a post over at A Deeper Story, which led to One Word 365, which led to Melanie at Only A Breath.  If you are so inclined, please check them out, and contemplate what would your word be for 2013?

It wasn’t easy to come up with just one word, but when looking back on 2012, I felt that “listen”, or lack of it, needed to be focused on.  Sit back, think about it for awhile, and choose a word…

Share your word in the comments section; I’d love to know what word matters to you ~

Image credits:

Post header - D.L. Rives,  Listen image - Melanie of Only A Breath

About Carol H. Rives

Wife, mother of two, friend to many. Enjoys reading and writing about education, family, friendship and life, in general. Loves spending quality time with family and friends; making new memories and cherishing the ones of the past. Some favorite interests include: exercising, hiking, writing, knitting, baking/cooking, gardening and collecting thought-provoking quotes. Try to live my life in a "pause and smile" kind of way!!
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20 Responses to Faith to Listen ~

  1. Paula says:

    So well put. Each episode brought to life so vividly, from wrapping and uh-huhing, to partaking in the cookie bake off. Can picture each scene completely. You have always been a good listener. Perfect word of the year.

  2. Amber Byrd says:

    So so true! Ok we have our homework for the year. Listen. Something tells me this is not going to be as easy as it sounds. Great piece as always! xo

    • Thanks Amber! I think you are correct; it is not going to be as easy as it sounds, a real challenge in fact~
      As always, thanks for stopping by Pause and Smile; I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my rambles!

  3. Nancy Cable says:

    Love the post, Carol! Wonderful as always. Agree with Paula, I could completely picture each scene. Will try my best with this word of the year…it’s a good one. I burst out laughing when I read “For crying out loud”, as that was a famous line of my dad’s…brought back wonderful memories of him. Thank you. Do you think we can count that as one of our official Midwest sayings? Hugs.

    • Yes Nancy, I believe it to be a popular one among the Midwesterners! We should work together to compose a list of some of the other favorites. My grandfather, origianally a New Yorker, turned Westerner had a classic. When he would see or hear of someone doing something hideous he would chide, “well, I see that all the fools aren’t dead, yet!” He was one of the kindest most gentle of gentlemen, which made this comment so funny!

      I wasn’t trying to make you laugh, but so glad to know that I did, and that my comment made you remember your father!

  4. jonstolpe says:

    Epiphany is my word for 2013. I am excited to see God revealed in new ways as the year unfolds.

  5. I love that definition of faith as well. I think there’s going to be a lot of faith-related searching in store for me this year. It turns out that I landed on my own word earlier today, which I didn’t bother writing down because I just knew I’d remember. Well, I sure remembered that wrong! Back to square zero for me.

    • Deb – I bet if you reflect on your post, “Enveloped in small wonders” you will come up with one dandy of a word. Make sure that you let me know when you do remember your word… I’m really curious as to what folks choose, if they do.

      By the way… may I place you on my blogroll… your words need to be shared, and I’d love to pay if forward, so to speak ~

      • That post was exactly what inspired the word! I still remember the feeling, but not the word. I will keep looking, and hope I have greater success than when I try to find my glasses. :)

        I would be honored if you’d include me in your blogroll! I have some more updating to do to my own.

        • Thank you, Deb… you have been added!

          As for the word… keep reflecting on your post; it will come to you. When I was reading it, marvel, reflection and cherish, all came to mind. It will come to you when your mind is quiet.

  6. In addition to listening to the physical world around me, pausing to listen to God is something I’m working on. Through the din of everyday life, I don’t always hear His message.

    Thanks for giving me reason to pause and smile.

  7. Oh Carol, thank you for your honesty about listening. I know I’ve not always been the intent, focused listener I should be. I chose centering, creativity and community, and I’ll tell you that they all require listening.

  8. Tess Ross says:

    So pleased to find your blog through Googling “The quieter you become, the more you can hear” as I was inspired to use it for 2013 for myself. I love the use of the one word LISTEN. That’s what I will be doing too this year. Listening to God within myself and listening to others. Thanks for the inspiration. I hope to be writing about it also. Tess

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