Listening is the Hardest Part

Progress Not Perfection

Al-Anon has taught me that pray requires listening. One of our slogans is Listen and Learn. Another is Progress Not Perfection. Another is Recovery is a Verb. Okay, I made that last one up. It’s good, isn’t it!

In Al-Anon meetings, share after share builds my trust that a Higher Power is eager to help us. There’s a catch though, we need to shut up and listen. I’m learning to listen with the eye of my eyes, the ear of my ears, the heart of my heart.

Listening in Al-Anon

Prior to entering Al-Anon, my prayers had generally consisted of long litanies. They were requests from me, Whitney, to God, wherever God is. Recovery encouraged me, through first-hand testimony, that a Higher Power is absolutely able to communicate. God can speak through anything, even a donkey!

I remember one day I was folding laundry in my son’s bedroom, who was five at the time. It must have been a summer morning, because I was folding laundry while Ned was going through the gymnastics associated with obediently making his bed. I had told him before about the times I would come into his room when he was at school – either to put laundry away or to dust or something – and find that he had made his bed (very lumpy indeed but nevertheless completely made) as I had asked. It was not until this particular morning, however, that I had ever actually observed him making his bed. And when I did, it touched my heart.

His pillows were all over the floor, while he was on his mattress. He was in the exact middle, trying to flip the various layers into flatness. He was smoothing his sheets by elongating his body and moving closer to the edge, trying to work out the wrinkles and waves and lumps. It struck me that he was so sweetly obeying, really trying and trying, and without a single complaint. Everyday, he’d been struggling like this, so faithfully. To say I was touched to see his efforts is an understatement.

Next thing you know, I was crying. “Mommy!” Ned exclaimed. “What’s the matter?” To which I replied, “Nothing, Ned, it just touches my heart to see you making your bed, to see how hard you’re trying, to see all the trouble you go to just to get it done.” And then, I believe, I heard God say:

 “I love the lumps.”

God sees my efforts. He looks at my heart. My little boy, Ned, had shown me what God looks like. It doesn’t matter how well I understand each and every jot and bustle. It doesn’t matter how well I teach. It doesn’t even matter how well I do.

It only matters that I try. It only matters that I Listen and Learn.

For more anecdotes like this one, LOOK INSIDE a book on Amazon called Whit’s End by clicking here

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