I love to sing! And lately, singing Christmas carols and other music with family and friends, I’ve been having a blast. A friend has also started up a women’s a cappella group at the seminary, which has been fun and challenging. With all this music, I’ve found myself listening very carefully – not only for my own part or my own notes, but also to what others are singing. In order to keep the song moving in harmony and in sync, I need to listen to the other singers or instruments (when there are any!). In addition, I just started watching “The Sing Off,” which is awesome! These various a cappella groups are making harmonics and music arranging cool and for that, I thank them!

With all of this music, I’ve been thinking about how important it is to listen to each other even when we’re not singing. A classmate of mine gave a presentation yesterday about pastoral care and led us in an exercise to teach us about listening. In this exercise, one person was to tell a second person something about which he/she is passionate and the second person was to listen intently. Then, we did it again, with the second person not paying attention at all. It really drove home the importance of listening to people wholeheartedly.

So often, I find myself multitasking and not paying as close attention as I should be to those around me. I really think, however, that one of the most important things we have to give each other is our time. Life is so short and time so precious, why do we let ourselves be distracted from that which is so important? I think this also extends to ourselves. Do we really take quality time to listen to ourselves and our own needs? For example, like when our bodies are yelling at us, “you need sleep! No more caffeine – real sleep!” Do we actually listen? Furthermore, do we take quality quiet time to sit and listen for God in our lives? I know that it’s very easy for me to make excuses for not paying attention to those around me, to my own needs and for not carving out time for listening for God.

I hope, however, my recent musical experiences will help remind me of the importance of listening and being fully present.

© 2010. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.