Wednesday, July 21, 2010


"That was my favourite walk, ever. It's the best in the twilight." Carefree joy of a boy with new words on his lips. Twilight. Dusk.
He listens to me and the ideas I speak build expanding concepts in him. Now he can name twilight, and he delights in doing it.
Keep listening my son, listen, learn, grow.

Stillness. At the end of the bumpy road. Valley like a bowl cradling fog.
Sit and listen in the stillness.
“Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.”

Neuron by Roxy Paine at the MCA (Sydney Biennale, 2010)

Listen. An impulse runs along stretching, linking cell projections. A single instrument in an orchestra of radiating sensation. Somehow these neurones can perceive, collate and interpret the sound around me. In milliseconds I respond. I can shape an appropriate thought, vocalise it and be understood by the one who listens to me. Miraculously, earth-shatteringly, simply, effortlessly brilliant.

Listening takes me into messy places. Again and again I hear pain. I hear the terrifying, hopelessly trapped results of an unplanned crime. I hear the wish to die because life is too hard or too hopeless. I hear language blurred, marred and tumbling out tossed into salad. Memories fading, perceptions tricked as unbodied voices scare psychotic people.

Maybe listening is my gift. I lay it unwrapped in the lap of the broken. Maybe I share grace by really listening, by the inefficiency of stopping and listening. Listening to the story I don't need to sit for because I already know what needs doing. It can wait, you need to be heard.


Marcus Goodyear said...

The world needs more listeners!

Amy Sullivan said...

Yes, there are times when listening takes us to "messy places" we don't always want to go.

Dianna said...

This reminds me of my word for 2010...compassion. I've asked God to make me truly compassionate...not artificially smiling and walking on by one who has a need...whether it be physical or spiritual or emotional. In order to do that I have to listen...both for the still small voice of Him who gave His all for me and for the heart cries of those He puts in my path. Thank you so much for your post today.

Anonymous said...

thanks for stopping by my journal and "listening" to me. I'm fairly new to public journaling, and have been taken aback by how many people write comments about themselves rather than about what i write-- i do not suggest that i am above using others as a hinge to my own ideas-- and I am "learning" that in he world of online journals establishing empathy and offering simple praise is sort of the standard for how we relate to one another.

it is just surprising i suppose, how little most commentary reflects any real listening. and surprising, too, when you stumble upon a stranger who finds their value in listening.

So thanks.

and thanks for this post. It is beautiful on its own, but (here is my empathetic moment) gives me something to look forward to. My little one is starting with single syllable words, and an utterance like "twilight" is something I look forward to.

I anticipate her acquisition of language, of course, but I think you nuance well, that tehre is something more at stake than language here. And I look forward, also, to Andjoli's capacity to grow up and out enough to be able to recognize the subtleties of our world, and then name them, as your boy has named the fade of day to night, the settling time of day.