In the cacophony surrounding the unending changes in my workplace, it is hard to know which voice I should listen to and who should be ignored (politely of course). Everyone is competing for attention. They are loud, physically and metaphorically. They demand to be heard. When they sense a lack of engagement, unexpected moves follow. The volume and unpredictability of the noise is overwhelming. I want to close the door, ignore the telephone, and stare out the window.
In the midst of the chaos, there are calm whispers. They stand in contrast to the usual.
As I think about why I am able to hear them in the confusion, my observations include the following.
I hear voices that reach towards me as a bridge, speaking in ways I recognize. They follow Paul’s pattern when he wanted to confront a rioting crowd. Specifically, “when they heard him speaking Hebrew, they grew even quieter. No one wanted to miss a word of this.” (Acts 22.2a)
I hear voices affirming what binds us together before we explore our differences. I hear voices of a supportive community. The level on which we agree varies from high to low. Regardless, I have a clear sense that we are walking with and for each other.
I hear voices exploring the content of our differences. They want to understand my perspective. While they are willing to share, it is not a requirement. I feel an invitation for dialogue.
As demands pull me in all directions, I find myself turning towards the whispers. They are important allies deserving my time and attention. I see a chance for reach beyond my abilities. I know we are stronger as we work together.
The outcome of responding to these whispers is changing my approach to Others. My experience reminds me that this approach touches everyone involved. As today’s demands reflect the continuing storm, the bridges others have used give me a path for survival and progress. It is an opening filled with light and hope.
Bridges reflect unique opportunities for connection. Today is a time for crossing.