Monday, October 14, 2013

Taking Time to Listen

Although I am, most certainly (hopefully), on the mend; I still don't feel one hundred percent well. That said, I took a little time to lay on my bed this weekend while both kids were (miraculously!) quiet in their respective rooms (whether or not they actually slept means remarkably little to me at this point).
With the windows flung open to the crisp notes of fall lingering in the breeze, I can't sleep for all the noise. Instead I lay still, eyes closed, listening to the sounds of my neighborhood.

The distant call of the train looms louder, bell clanging, blowing its horn again and again. Cars ride past, lingering on the corner and blasting their music. I feel the beat reverberate the window panes, and try to ignore the lyrics.

Three doors down, the rooster crows. I'm not sure who said the rooster crows to mark the dawn, because this ones crows to mark many different occasions throughout the day. His voice carries on the wind, over the clucking and occasional wing-flapping from our own coop. From a few houses down in the other direction, the excited yipping of a new litter of pitbull puppies provide a background track for our busy corner.

A group of men huddle around their card table set-up in the street, calling out occasional greetings and/or curses depending on how their game progresses. A momma walks by with her gaggle of children following on noisy bikes and on foot, her sharp words snapping them back to the safety of the sidewalk as a car zooms past.

Birds chirp and the wind rustles leaves blushed with the first hints of autumn, cheeks flushed in dipping temperatures. Someone wheels a shopping cart down the street, loud metallic bumping and scraping over every pot-hole and pebble. I cant resist peeking through the blinds to see if the shopping-cart driver is Milton, who we haven't seen in a while and Adam worries about. It is not him, and I lay back on the bed, eyes closing to the sound of a truck-reversing and some sort of electric tools starting up loudly on the house they slowly tear down across the street.

A basketball bounces on the pavement, peppered by the sounds of laughter and teasing. I sit up, waiting for the inevitable squeaky swing of our front gate, before the pouring and pounding of Nikes up the cracked concrete stairs next to my window. When I hear it, I hop out of bed and slide socks on the hardwoods to stop the inevitable knocking and yelling and Maverick barking and Caden crying: WANNA SEE DA BOYS!!! I fling open the door victoriously just as they raise their hands to knock, while simultaneously whisper-yelling at Maverick to be quiet.  I send them away but not without snacks and cups of water, and stern admonishments that I better not find any trash on our front porch. They laugh a little, and point at the broken metal chair, pieces of a white wicker chair that has been slowly picked apart, and various and sundry disarray of dirty cushions. Not to mention that Caden recently drew with marker all over the ledge: we haven't yet tested to see if it was with permanent or washable red. Regardless, I got you Becca, Decorey assures me. 

It's all so normal, the sounds of our neighborhood. But I am reminded of the words of St Teresa of Avila: "the Lord walks among the pots and pans." And I know that the very ordinary sounds of an ordinary corner are the sounds of a sacred space where Christ dwells. And I am reminded of how our hands have been anointed to do this holy service of handing out water to kids, and brushing tangles from hair, and listening. 

Caden cries, and Jayci yells the baby boy is crying! from her room. And so I abandon plans to lay back down, and instead pull Caden from his crib to rest on my shoulder. I get a snack for Jayci, and open the door to more knocking from small children who have just moved in a few houses down. And I listen as my living room fills quickly with the noises of stories and laughter and block-building and fighting over toys and constant requests for snacks. 

The Lord walks among the pots and pans, I remind myself again while I fill more cups of water for more thirsty children. 


  1. oh friend, this is my most favorite post in this series. YOU know your people and your place and you have blessed the Lord in your knowing.
    you inspire me.

  2. I love it. And your photos are stunning.
    Rebekah Somewhere in the Middle


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