Reflections on being heard & listening: themes from Hebrews

Do you feel heard? Seen? Recognized? Beloved?

Here are Rev Barbara Brown Taylor’s thoughts on the Love who insists one being Present and bears Witness to our lives:

“I use the word “sacred” to describe something that grounds me in this world and opens me up to another world all at the same time. Oceans usually do it, especially in the middle of summer storms. The kindness of strangers does it. Getting sick does it, especially if I am so sick that I cannot do anything for myself. Being present at the birth of a new human being does it, and so does being between the sheets with someone I love. I could go on. I use the words “holy” and “divine” to describe the same phenomena. They almost involve the sense that there is a Witness to my life, a Consciousness that is for me in the best situations but also in the worst, where this Sacredness is working around the clock to make life out of death for me and every other living thing.”

We had seen God in His splendors,
heard the text that Nature renders.
We had reached the naked soul of man.
— Ernest Shackleton

I know that when I pray, something wonderful happens.
Not just to the person or persons for whom I’m praying,
but also something wonderful happens to me.
I’m grateful that I’m heard.
— Maya Angelou

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.
― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi, The Illuminated Rumi

On Being Heard

You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive. — Maya Angelou

Good listeners have a huge advantage. For one, when they engage in conversation, they make people ‘feel’ heard. They ‘feel’ that someone really understands their wants, needs and desires. And for good reason; a good listener does care to understand. — Simon Sinek

If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it. — Mother Teresa

Let your voice be heard. Don’t stand idly by and let things happen to you. Question everything; be informed.— Madeline Brewer

It was high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘always do what you are afraid to do.’ — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived. — Soren Kierkegaard

It’s really important that young women be reminded that their involvement matters and that their voice is heard. Even if it feels like it’s small, it really can make an impact. — Meghan Markle

I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it. — Ray Bradbury

I am in earnest – I will not equivocate – I will not excuse – I will not retreat a single inch – and I will be heard! — William Lloyd Garrison

Hand in hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard, to share in the decisions of government which shape men’s lives. — Robert Kennedy

This stand wasn’t because I feel like I’m being put down in any kind of way. This is because I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice: people that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard and affect change. So I’m in the position where I can do that, and I’m going to do that for people that can’t. — Colin Kaepernick

The first time you say something, it’s heard. The second time, it’s recognized, and the third time it’s learned. — John C. Maxwell

On Listening

Nothing heals us like letting people know our scariest parts: When people listen to you cry and lament, and look at you with love, it’s like they are holding the baby of you. — Anne Lamott

… If you and they do not master the art of deep listening and loving speech, it is very difficult to move toward peace in any situation or to get concrete results. If we have not transformed our inner block of suffering, hatred and fear, it will prevent us from communicating, understanding and making peace. — Thich Nhat Hanh

Sacramental listening reminds us that current suffering isn’t the end of the story. God loves us deeply, and the vision for the future is vaster and more magnificent than we could ever imagine. In these moments of profound human presence, we are awakened to the divine presence and see that the kingdom of God is coming and yet is already here. — Richard Rohr

Part of doing something is listening. We are listening. To the sun. To the stars. To the wind. ― Madeleine L’Engle, Swiftly Tilting Planet

The spiritual life, in other words, is not achieved by denying one part of life for the sake of another. The spiritual life is achieved only by listening to all of life and learning to respond to each of its dimensions wholly and with integrity. ― Joan D. Chittister, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change