Listening to Life


As I sat out under our mango tree this morning, I listened to the sounds of the dawning morning. It was early enough so that the everyday noises of life had not yet begun. What did I hear? I closed my eyes and just listened…

Little songbirds waking up. A gentle morning breeze ruffling the leaves on the tree. A neighbor’s cat prowling around the garden looking for prey. Several fruit bats swooping out of the mango tree to hide in the leafy branches of our candle tree. The first rays of the sun kissing the branches on the mango tree.

Our dogs stretching as they woke up. The vegetable vendor alerting us to her presence. The thunk of the daily newspaper thrown over the gate onto our driveway.

I remember during my childhood whenever I was disturbing the peace at home, Mom would send me out on a listening walk around the farm. That’s where I learned the benefits of really listening to life happening around you. It’s all about rediscovering the world around you through the art of listening. My perspective of happenings changed from the maxi-perspective of events to the mini-perspective of the small miracles of life that we often overlook.

I would sit beside the small brook in one of our meadows. Once I quieted my wandering thoughts and opened my mind and my ears, I could hear the brook’s watery whispers, its murmurs as it flowed around the stones, its rustles as it shushed through a grassy patch.

I would perch on a rocky ledge bordering our woodland and listen to the busy bees harvesting juices from the wild flowers. As if my ears could feel the branches of the bushes tickling each other as they danced in the summer winds. I loved to listen to the cheer-ups of the wild birds calling out greetings to each other from their summer nests.

An English writer (I forget his name but have his words in my notebook) who wrote about language and the senses once philosophized that “listening is the homing device by which our soul directs us toward our sense of place.” He believed that nothing is more personal than how we listen.

I wonder how often we really listen to life in our everyday activities and busy-ness. There are so many noises around us that we tend to lump them all together into one jumbled noise.

I ask myself “Is this what life is all about – Noise?” And then I remember my listening walks as a child. Now I make the time to spend a few minutes (or more) to quiet myself, tamper down my thoughts, open my mind’s ears and heart to really listen to the miniscule sounds of life around me.

It is when listening to life that I marvel at the humor of our God who created this harmonic music of life. Every sound different. Every sound awakening one’s soul. Every sound a miracle in itself. Thank You, Lord!