AS I finish What is the What for a discussion that was held two weeks ago about the book, I keep coming back to a robbed, tied up, thrashing about Achak’s musings,
“This is impossible, that no one would come to this door. Is the noise of the world so cacophonous that mine cannot be heard? I ask only for one person! One person coming to my door will be enough.” (p. 150)
I keep rereading the page of this quote, and in the midst of great tragedy have wondered why this haunts me even more. Realization: the not hearing when another desperately needs to be heard intersects my part in the story. At the point of the quote, Deng resides in my hometown where I know literally hundreds of people who would care and would help if they had known his story and his needs. The gap lies here: would and do. How to bridge that gap in my own life from a woulder to a doer? Listening – yes to others, stories, words, looks, and to the One who sees the pain and cares. Much of the book stuns, moves, but my responsibility comes when I overlook, underrespond to another.
So I join the realization with a prayer asking the Heavenly Father to help me listen to His voice, so He can point out what I need to hear. Many internal conversations, many raucous noises, and many reasonable queries fly about in my interior and exterior world. Selective listening remains necessary when children practice speeches, piano, singing, guitar, character voices, drumming; even in the children’s fussing I monitor tone that requires parental interventions more than content. Still I long to be a sheep who knows the Shepherd’s voice; to respond to the whispers of God when another person needs to be heard. Today I am listening for His still, small voice and asking for a soft heart to respond.