Buechner: Stop, Look, and Listen 2
“ Stop, Look, and Listen is also the most basic lesson that the Judeo-Christian tradition teaches us? Listen to history is the cry of the ancient prophets of Israel. Listen to social injustice, says Amos; to head-in-the-sand religiosity, says Jeremiah; to international treacheries and power-plays, says Isaiah...
And when Jesus comes along saying that the greatest command of all is to love God and to love our neighbor, he too is asking us to pay attention. If we are to love God, we must first stop, look, and listen for him in what is happening around us and inside us.”
Frederick Buechner, Originally published in Whistling in the Dark, The Frederick Buechner Center, Frederick Buechner Quote of the Day.
Buechner is reminding us to live in the present, notice what is happening, where we were, the people we are interacting with instead of living in the past or the future. Instead we worry about past mistakes that we have not made amends for or worry about the future or what will happen to us when people find out who we really are. We ignore or do not really engage with those around us, for we are so self-absorbed. Instead of listening, we are thinking about the next thing we are going to say. Our life is lived on the surface, like that of the Black Skimmer, the well-known water bird we see at the gulf. The skimmer flies low and fast over the water’s surface snapping up small fish. We, like the skimmer, never go deep.
Buechner is telling us there is another life, a life where we connect to a God who so loves us that God is present in every waking and sleeping moment. If we notice, we will see people and places that come into our lives where we are led to see God in them and they also may see God in us.
How do we change? Slowly. One moment at a time. For myself, observing life outdoors surrounds me with something greater than myself. The smells, the sights, the colors are so spectacular that my mind slows down, my feet ground my body to the present, and I begin to hear my heart beat and begin slowly to listen, listen for the heartbeat in others.