Wednesday Word: Listening
Did you hear it?
Did you hear the repetitive drone of someone shoveling their driveway? Did you hear the muffled sound of a car driving down the street? Did you hear the sound of the snowfall?
I am not a big fan of being cold and wet, so playing in the snow – sledding, building snowmen, making snow angels, skiing – is not something I like to do. But I do love a heavy snowfall in the evening.
I love the way lampposts have a magical, Narnian quality to them. Generally speaking, I actually like shoveling snow – there's something cathartic about it, like chopping wood. I love the way sound is different during a heavy snowfall – both muffled and enhanced. I like going for walks in the neighborhood and hearing the snowfall. I like the way lights in houses seem warmer and more inviting during a snowstorm.
But besides being beautiful, peaceful, and sometimes romantic, snow (especially lots of it) forces us to slow down. We walk more slowly so as to avoid slipping and injuring ourselves. We tend to drive more slowly. More people actually use their turn signals during a snowstorm. We give ourselves more room to stop and we pay more attention to where we are going. I think we also tend to be more forgiving to other drivers knowing that conditions are far from normal.
Ash Wednesday and Lent is two weeks away.
Lent is like a spiritual snowstorm. It calls us to slow down. It calls us to walk more slowly so we can see where we might slip and injure ourselves. It calls us to be more patient. It calls us to be more forgiving. It calls us to listen to the often imperceptible voice of God.
Lent, like snowstorms, can be difficult to maneuver through. But Lent, like snowstorms, also has its own beauty and its own sounds.
This Lent, may you take time to slow down and listen.