I’m taking classes to become a spiritual director, to help me with the volunteer work in the prison, and one of the assignments – since the bulk of the work centers around listening – is to record 5 conversations that you are not participating in.
Since I don’t live with a family, they told me I could record TV conversations. I don’t watch TV, except when I am binge watching Once Upon a Time which I try not to do, and because I felt like I was somehow accepting a lower level of person by doing this, (as if by living on my own I am somehow inferior – especially since I’ve worked so hard not to and yet still do) – I asked if I could record other people’s conversations that I didn’t know. I didn’t come out and ask if it was okay to eavesdrop but I got permission for this assignment.
Since then, at a few coffee shops and groceries, despite our love of computers, iPads, and iPhones, I’ve gotten 4 good conversations down. In the coffee shops there is music overhead and that, coupled with the fact that my note-taking skills have degenerated, a good percentage of some of these talks are muffled or missed. What is amazing, surprising, and even moved my distracted self into spontaneous prayer in wonder at His creation of dialog in general, is how much more is communicated in what a friend of mine told me is “meta-cognition.”
This friend was going on about the evils of Facebook and why he objected to email initially, and although I understand and respect what he was saying there was definitely a strong part of me far too dismissive of his grief over what we are losing.
The four conversations so were as follows; female contractor going over the renovation of a man’s kitchen, (who always seemed to try to bring into question her competence, though she clearly was not in danger of losing the job for any reason that seemed understandable), a group of three women listing the faults of some poor man named Sean, a young man seeking help with dealing with his aging father from a man who could have been his father, and a new volunteer undergoing training in an office quick to point out what she had experience with.
The subtle depth that seemed to shout from these conversations nearly made me cry. The relational dynamics were so apparent and yet so little of these came out in the words themselves.
It also struck me how a basic common sense understanding of our Lords love for us was absent, with the exception of the man seeking counsel from the older one, but his countenance was such that it seemed as if he was not sure of it, like hope was grasping at straws.
I am ever more convinced of the rich harvest, my blindness to the amazing grace of Gd in my own life, and the assurance of His hold on it. Even with all that’s happened these past few months- getting laid off, getting hit by a car on my bike in a crosswalk, being disappointed by people supposedly anointed, I am incredibly rich to know where I am going. Even if everything I am doing is wrong, there is great power in being able to admit it and to simply turn. The ability to recognize and accept reality as things fall out – even if not in your favor, is like winning. I hope I am not sounding like I have it all together or that i am better than people in denial or that i don’t have my own areas of denial. I have to write this because – it’s discovery for me. I don’t know what the next steps are, but He is increasing my trust that He’s at work.
I’ve changed the house so that the upstairs rooms and be rented out and I can also collect unemployment until at least the end of the year. I try to apply for a job every day. And I am going to continue to listen.
Father, Your word assures us to trust in the unseen. Thank You for showing me how this is literally true in our conversations and how much we communicate in what we don’t say. Help me to shine You without words and without thinking. You have made an amazing place here and thank you for it.