When time stands still

“Today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts…”
~ Psalm 94:8 (Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible)

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Have you ever had a moment in loud or busy surroundings where you are able to tune it all out and listen to something soft, sweet and low in volume? A moment where time stands still and all the noise is drowned out by the lesser one? It happened to me this morning while getting a pumpkin spice latte at the Starbucks a few blocks from my office (Yes, I deduct the proper number of points from my Man Card when I order this.). I heard a familiar voice singing the sweetest tune over the store speakers as I was about to leave. It had been playing for about a minute but my ears had yet to bring it into focus for me. And when they did I just stood motionless by the storefront window holding my drink and staring at the floor. It had been a hectic morning already, and a busier than usual week. I’d had little sleep as my nights have been filled with writing for a project I’m developing.

But in the middle of all the hustle and bustle I heard the sweet strains of a familiar voice, and suddenly the noise in the store seemed to fade. The problem was I could not for the life of me figure out who it was. She was familiar to me and I was certain I had a CD of hers somewhere but hadn’t heard her in a few years. Was it Lucinda Williams? No,  Lucinda’s voice is rougher. Grittier. This voice was smooth and soft. So I did what I usually do in this situation and focused on the lyrics. If I could capture the refrain or chorus I could Google them and find the song and artist.

So I spoke these words into the Notes app on my Smartphone:

I know it’s right your my amazing grace you make time stand still

And I emailed them to desk where they awaited me when I returned.

I found her. Of course…it was Mindy. It’s from her 2006 “Long Island Shores” CD. I grabbed it tonight from my shelf and will be listening to it on my drive into work tomorrow.

So two lessons I took from this. First, isn’t modern technology crazyamazing? I can’t place a song in my mind but I can speak a few words into a device, have that device email it to my desk where I can search for it when I’ve the time and not just find the song but even listen to it or watch a video?

Yeah, I know. Welcome to 2012 Jeff. So glad you’re keeping up. And I do, but c’mon…that’s pretty cool for those of us old enough to remember when it was nothing more than a story idea for Star Trek.

Second, it struck me that this is not all that different than how God communicates with us through the Holy Spirit. We’re busier than ever, surrounded by the noise of the world that either we create or have thrown at us. At times we are overwhelmed by it and when the din grows to the point where we can’t hear ourselves think anymore we become numb to it…we shut it out the best we can. We daydream. We fantasize. We run through the agenda for the next meeting we’re facilitating in our head for the millionth time. We’re worrying about our kids. Our jobs. Our household budgets or the coming election. Some choose to focus on the distraction provided by celebrities and what’s on TV. Or, judging from what I see on the streets every day, more and more of us are simply staring blankly down at the little screen in front of us on our phones. Or we’re thinking of fun memes to create.

That ain’t the Holy Spirit.

All the while the Voice of God is gently whispering in our ears. Telling us we’re loved. Encouraging us to accept His forgiveness. Entreating us to love others. Asking us to reflect His light into the world through our example. Whispers of all good things into our inner ear.

I’ve had this happen. I’ve stopped on the sidewalk when I think I’m hearing something. I’ve stood against the nearest building to get out of the path of others while I “tuned in” to bring it into focus. It is during these times that many ideas for stories have come into being. I weep for the hundreds I’ve lost because I didn’t listen long enough or write them down before they get lost in all the noise of my atmosphere. Often I’m smiling as I begin to walk again, nodding to myself at what a wonderful idea or insight had just been given to me. I feel obligated to share them.

We all know there’s a lot of shouting in the world. Politicians loudly pander and the media lapdogs shout at one another in some odd exercise they call a “debate.” Our children wail for our attention as do loved ones. Social media, work, sports, traffic…all of them clamoring for our undivided attention.

If we listen.
(Defined by Websters as “making an effort to hear something”)

If we hear.
(Defined by the same resource “as perceiving sound”)

*****

The edge of love, the only way
Just give it all for heaven’s sake
And when we fall God will keep us safe
And that’s when time stands
That’s when time stands still

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