Echoes from a distance are fun, exiting, and childish. It is easy to love something keeping an appropriate distance, saying only what we say, while sitting on the mystery’s edge. It is as if we are enjoying a two-way conversation with ourselves, only it has no flow, logic, or answers. Echoes resonating from those close to us are much more difficult. Perhaps the proximity creates a different kind of echo; one full of authenticity, change, and compassion. Even if we wanted to treat these with childish innocence we couldn’t. Though denial is possible, our hearts know the truth. Love can be tough, beautiful, and full of mercy, all at the same time.
Yet it is hard to listen to an echo. I find myself going into a space where I at first deny, find myself reflecting, and then, finally, understanding. Sometimes an opening comes from the center of the soul and the echo forms the heart of deep friendship, on other occasions the process is as simple as sounds bouncing off of two walls.
When the blind man tried to explain Jesus’ miracle, the questions kept coming. “They called the man back a second time—the man who had been blind—and told him, ‘Give credit to God. We know this man is an impostor.’
He replied, ‘I know nothing about that one way or the other. But I know one thing for sure: I was blind . . . I now see.’” (John 9.24, 25)
The answer was the answer. The events spoke for themselves. The participants were known. Yet the echo of the story was never accepted by those who were in a position to understand.
God uses the people and events around us to speak, dialogue, and echo what we are saying. Listening, deep, authentic, and heart sourced listening can be very difficult. I am in awe of those who do it consistently because I know I am not one of them. The opportunity today is to build a fresh set of echoes, giving hope, mercy, and compassion to those who will hear.
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