I have been thinking–and writing–a lot about listening lately.  As I look back over my last two blog posts, while I was willing to listen for the voice of God, it seems that I expected to be asked to do big things or thought I would hear clear answers to my questions.  I expected an obvious path to open in front of me so that I would know what exactly what to do.  This week, I realized that is not always the case..  I discovered that when my actions, like my listening, are focused on the small, every day things, they will get me exactly where I need to go.


The dining room is one of the places where we as community, daily encounter one another’s needs. 

It’s often the small things that are the most difficult for me to do.  Greeting and smiling to the Sister who I felt slighted me the day before often seems impossible.  Since most of our common life centers on liturgy and shared meals, these are most often the places where these small gestures are necessary.  I frequently find myself helping to carry trays, stepping in to lead prayers, or fetching things for Sisters.  I realized last week that it is only when I do these things freely and with love that they are truly helpful.

This became very clear to me when someone stopped me last week with a question, “Do you have a minute?  Can you help me with….?”  The request came from someone I see regularly.  Not someone I consider a close friend, but someone I greet and smile to when I see her.  Someone to whom I lend a hand when I can (as she does for me).  These regular interactions led her to trust me, which led to this conversation.  I’m not sure that I answered any of her questions, but I think my presence helped her.  Nothing I did was large or grandiose, but my daily actions led me to where I needed to be to be helpful.

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1 Comment

  1. your favorite cousin-in-law and you know it.

     /  March 7, 2017

    That photo of the dining room is beautiful, and I really enjoy your posts. These recent ones remind me that the noise of thoughts and, I don’t know, STUFF rolling around my brain prevents me, sometimes, from really listening and interacting with other people. Sometimes that’s a self-preservation mechanism, because really interacting with someone, the act of giving them your full attention, is hard work! At the same time, avoiding or half-listening to other people means losing out on the chance to make real connections, and in the end, those connections are what make life good, I think. xo Emily


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