It is hard to listen in another language. It didn’t seem to matter; on the train from Nice to Monaco, in the Monaco cafes, and even listening to the track announcer at the Formula One practice and qualifying, I had a hard time grasping the detailed message. It was as if I had lost touch with every French word I had ever known. Nothing was clear! Everything sounded like jumbled bundles of sounds. Nice wasn’t any better. The only time words in the context of two motorcycle accidents. In the stillness everyone knew what the words of the moment were. You could feel them without the need for a translator.
I wonder if the difficulties in hearing in another language permeate into other corners of my life. Am I confused when I think I am listening to Cherry? Do the simple words and phrases carrying the emotions and thoughts of the soul simple pass over dry ground?
Even as I pause I wonder if I can or should limit my questioning to fellow humans. Am I listening to God? If so what do I think I am hearing? Far too often my response to Cherry, God, and life circumstances falls into a pattern of confusion and sadness. I know what is going to be said and why. I understand why people feel that way they do, especially when it comes to change. I can anticipate God. Or at least I think I do across all three areas.
Before I pass comment on myself let me open acknowledge that the following statement is an accurate reflection of my life. “The longer I've [God] talked, the sadder you've become.” (John 16.6) I don’t want to feel the way I do but I seem to regardless.
Sometimes life seems overwhelming. The answer to all of this is modeled by my response to the French. Engage, practice, and don’t let the “noise” surrounding be an American tourist in France get to you or dictate your reaction. Listening involved hearing everything God has to say; especially when he talks about you.
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