Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions.
~Shir-Hashirim (Song of Songs) 1:7
I have often heard myself in these words, in all my seeking the signature and footpaths of the Holy One—I want to know His resting place. Sacred intimacy sounds like joy, I want to forget myself and all my coverings in His presence. I want to live in light and truth. But I.
I also hear myself in the shuffle of the everyday demands, beneath them, covered in their urgency. I keep thinking about the sounds I want to listen for though. I know they are here, in the everyday. I just need to learn them, the sounds like joy…and I’ve decided I’m going to dance while I learn.
I want to learn the sound of my children’s truth, rising out of their questions—the ones asked, and the ones sparkling in their eyes, while they talk about their dreams from the night. The questions they haven’t asked yet are because they don’t know the words to their song yet.
So, I wanna listen for it with them, the sound like joy.
I want to be a friend like the One whom my soul loves has been to me. At the beginning of every new thing, the new year, the new month, the new week, following His paths, I find He teaches me to enter it through the gate of rest. Often this is not what I give, not the song I sing, but I am learning to.
Often I have grown weary and pulled away from the very ones I love, because I try to give the joy I’ve been given and the invitation is not received. Then I remember—I don’t always accept the invitations given to me either.
The summons into new beginnings often sounds like the strangest song to my ears, they often come too slow for me. Slowness lulls me into sleepiness, I am not wide-eyed when the way is hard. So I miss it, the invite. I dismiss it, the wonder waiting for me there, so easily…
When it all shakes out,
You’ve got this moment, make it count
When it all plays out, you’ve got to give this everything
Before the oxygen runs out
In the deep deep water…
-from Medicine, by TENTS
In the Biblical calendar there is more than one New Year. In fact, renewal is the heartbeat of the calendar, wherein Jews today often party to the tune of four New Years in one year! Recently the head of the seasons of the year renewed, it’s the one most of us are a little familiar with, it is called Rosh Hashanah and it is celebrated, in part, by rest.
I keep thinking, if I learn to begin by pausing, to begin by stopping, maybe the more I’ll know the sound—the sound like joy—in the harried days. And this all sounds sweet enough, until listening for the truth looks like someone standing in front of us telling us a lie.
“Prayer is the act of God listening to us. But there is also a listening beyond words, a silence that gives meaning to speech. In that silence, we are known by God.” -Jonathan Sacks
The song of truth does not cease when someone sows discord. The song is not stilled, but our hearing will sharpen and strengthen here, if we’re willing. Too often I want to run at these times. I hate lies. (And so I must face even my own.)
Last week, my act of listening to God listen to my own plea, my prayer, simply involved the opening of my front door. My literal front door. There was such a gift there waiting for me, I would never have believed it if it hadn’t happened to me, and I must apologize for that tease of information, because as of yet, I have no adequate words for what happened to me that day. But I had to at least tell you that much.
I had to tell you that, I know this: in our silence beyond words, in our fears and pains, we are known. So often, we want to find ourselves in words, in ways, in wonders. We want to know how to fully be here—we simply must begin by knowing we are here.
Hello, it is good to be here together.
That makes me smile and remember how Peter said that to Yeshua (Jesus) when he transformed before him on the mountain top.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here…” (Matthew 17)
A voice from heaven instructed him, “This is my son, whom I love… Listen to him.” (italics mine)
So. Let’s begin by stopping here a moment, stop and listen for the sound of the breath, the Spirit that is Holy. The wind is substantial, powerfully able to move—yet also flexible, giving way. So too The Spirit speaks, as well as listens…sounds like a good dance partner to me.
(Bio photo and dancing in the field photo taken by my daughter, Selah.)