Listening…Another Word for Love (Part 2)
Vickie MacArthur of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Collectively and individually, you are loved with an everlasting love that delights in each faithful step taken. God yearns to draw you close so that wounds may be healed, emptiness filled, and hope strengthened. Do not turn away in pride, fear, or guilt from the One who seeks only the best for you and your loved ones. Come before your Eternal Creator with open minds and hearts and discover the blessings of the gospel anew. Be vulnerable to divine grace -Doctrine and Covenants 163:10a, b
Lillian was always interested in travel, so I took my laptop to show her pictures I had taken in France. Most people get a bit bored with other people’s travel pictures, but not Lillian. She leaned in with interest, asking questions about almost every single photo.
After showing her photos of cathedrals like Notre Dame, Chartres, and Sacre Coeur with their stunning architecture and glistening, stained-glass windows, Lillian stopped me. She said, “I want to know what it felt like to sit in those cathedrals.”
That was so Lillian! Although widely read, and with an inquiring mind, she wasn’t satisfied with just thoughts or beliefs or talk about God or spirituality. She wanted to go deeper, to feel God’s presence, to know Spirit’s touch, to share Love incarnate. She didn’t want to see the finger pointing to the moon; she wanted the moon!
I wasn’t sure what to say in answer to Lillian’s question about sitting in the cathedrals. How does one convey the feeling of a spiritual experience? And is it really spiritual or just the way we are all wired to experience life when we really listen and pay attention? When I sat in those cathedrals, I felt utter silence and stillness. At the same time I was also in touch with the hopes and prayers and dreams of all the people who sat in those cathedrals over the years, pouring out their hearts to God.
Somehow “grace beyond words” intervened among Lillian, Doug (my husband), and me. The space among us dissolved into a shared space of love where she could feel a small piece of the stillness we felt in those cathedrals. I believe it was Lillian’s love and capacity to listen that bridged the gap.
I wonder what would happen if we all, like Lillian, began to listen to every single person as if they were our own child, our own grandchild; as if they were the most important person in the world. Christ, or Spirit, or Love is listening through us, listening people into their own healing, their own wisdom, their own life. Perhaps “listening” is another word for “love.”
Wherever I am, God is here.
Breathe deeply and prayerfully consider the story you have just read. What is the Spirit’s invitation to you in these words? What does it look like to wake up to God’s presence in this moment?
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