Then Job replied to the Lord, "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.' "
~ Job 42:1 - 3
This morning I was reminded how unexpected events often mold and shape our hearts.
Whether it is something that brings us joy, or even sorrow, there is something about each encounter that changes us. It is easier to empathize with someone when you have taken the time to truly listen. If you have been wounded, or experienced the joy similar to what is being shared, then our ability to be present with one another somehow is also changed.
After my cousin, John, died a just over a month ago, I suddenly discovered that each family that I was meeting for the first time who were placing their loved one on hospice, I could listen and understand what they were going through in a new way. Up until John's death, I was someone who cares for people who are on hospice, not completely understanding what the person was sharing and going through, until I made the journey myself.
While it has brought me to a new place where I can be present with people, I realize that I don't have to encounter everything that people have experienced in order to care.
There are so many things present in the world today that cause us to move apart from one another. The world's fast-paced, 8 second sound bytes, leave us with the simple, "I'm fine," and walk away when we are asked how we are doing. Imagine the answers to the same question, "How are you dong?" if the person being asked really knew that you cared, and that you would stop to listen?
The unexpected cannot happen and change us unless we are willing to allow for it to happen.
Could you imagine our relationship with God if God only gave us 8 seconds to share what we are feeling, experiencing, or needing? (According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. This is a sharp decrease from the average attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000.)
It sure makes our ability to create intimate relationships with one another something difficult to do, unless we are intentional.
In many ways, our lives become an empty existence. Experiencing the unexpected requires a willingness to not be in control. It requires trust, surrender, and a willingness to allow God to guide us. God wants to dwell within these moments, and make them last for more than just 8 seconds!
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.