To Listen is To Love

Do Not Copy

One sibling photo a week throughout the year. 16/52

My sons sit in the back seat of our mini-van, having a little conversation that I missed the beginning and the end of.

Son #2 says excitedly, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?!?!”

Son #1 replies with a deadpan expression, “No, I am not ever thinking what you are thinking.”

I laugh to myself because, even without knowing any context, the two lines say so much about their (very different) personalities.

***

The two of us stay up talking awhile. And when I say we are talking, I mean I am talking. He is listening, attentively, and inserting random quippy remarks between my heavy-hearted sharing. It’s like he knows that I’m all worked up about things that either have a solution or are completely out of my hands. I’m grateful for his patience, and his willingness to let me say it all out loud. I speak it, have a good cry, and laugh in between the conversational bullet-points because of his witty antics. No matter what is on my mind, he finds a way to make me laugh about it, if only for a moment until I get back on the serious train.

He seems satisfied with even a little laugh. There is no shushing me, or rushing me through the list to get it over with. In our years together, he has learned how to hold my stories, to give my wrestling heart the space it needs. It no longer scares him like it once did, and I no longer feel like I have to tuck the edges in around the stories just-so for him to understand or validate me in a certain way. Whether there is understanding or not, there is love…selfless, gentle, steady, listening love. It is an indescribable gift.

In earlier years, I wanted a certain kind of interchange between us, where I would share, and he would think about the topic just how I do, offering insightful responses and a comrade’s faithful corroboration. You know, for smooth seas and all. That didn’t often happen. We have often disagreed, and and our perspectives have clanged together like cymbals of different sizes. At times, our differences have annoyed me because I could not always see the beauty in them, or the reality that the rich and full life we share together is rich and full largely because of what we each uniquely bring to the table. Our differences, the very things that make life together sweet. At times we both have insisted on our own way at the expense of an opportunity to strengthen our love or encourage the other.

As the more stubborn of the two of us, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for grace that is all-encompassing if we will only entertain it, sow it, and see what grows in the garden of listening love. We are learning together. I gather his comedy in my arms and let all my cares blow away as I breathe out and his embrace tightens around me.

“Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” James 1:19

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Update on goals for week 16:

1) Run/walk at least 10 miles per week. Week 16 ~ 10.5 Run/Walk miles traveled, 167mi in 2015
2) Write 10,000 words weekly. Week 16 ~ 1,000 words completed, 58,925 words in 2015

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711. early morning misty walk, 712. peace after days of inner-wrestling, 713. listening ears that love well, 714. baby kisses and spastic dancing, 715. a little weekend sewing time, 716. an afternoon out to give my wardrobe some attention, 717. a successful thrifty adventure, 718. waterfall jokes, 719. limits and the goodness they bring, 720. little white flowers

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