When I woke up at 4 this morning, it seemed like a great opportunity to plug headphones into my iphone and play that one seasonal CD that I haven’t had a chance to hear yet this year. Remember the nature-sound series, “Solitudes”? This is a Christmas one, with appropriate sounds to go with each of the instrumental carols: snow squeaking under a sleigh, bells jingling on the horses pulling it, children playing and laughing in the distance, birds, streams, waves, wind, etc. Usually it’s an excellent background to relax you.
This morning though, I soon found myself saying “Why is this bothering me!?” It seemed like, just–NOISE! I was actually thinking of turning it off. Then, slowly, the realization dawned on me: I needed to stop thinking about things, even little unimportant things, and listen to it. Listen to the steel drums in the one carol. Listen to the bells, and to the flutes and clarinets. Let the waves take me to the ocean, and the birds to the forest. Envision the Wise Men travelling in the windy desert. That’s when I started to relax, and even began to nod off.
Yes, I know the busyness is three times heightened as we begin this fourth week of Advent, and you probably don’t even have time to read this, but whenever you do read it, try to plan even one or two moments, here and there, to: Listen. Here are some ideas for you:
- As you sing the same old carols that you’ve sung for years and years and years, pick one and actually listen to the words you’re singing. (What does it mean to you?)
- Listen to a child talking, to you or someone else. Listen to the lilt of its voice, to the difference in various children’s voices.
- Listen to a friend–just for once, without thinking about your own story while they’re still talking.
- Listen to Linus as he tells the story of the first Christmas, or read it yourself, as slowly as you can so that the words can sound new.
- Go for a walk, and listen to all the sounds that you hear–count them up: airplanes, traffic, people. Be thankful for your health/hearing; is there anything else that it makes you thankful for?
- Listen to all the sounds your kitchen makes, especially when a meal or a treat is being prepared. (Right now, mine is making a funny “whooshing” noise?? The fridge I guess.)
I hope this will have the benefit of, among other things, helping you to get some rest this holiday. And maybe you’ll even learn something! ;)
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” (James 1:19)