I have a long abiding memory of my childhood growing up on an Iowa farm. I am sitting at the back door of the big barn at dusk looking out over the hundreds of acres of fields of corn and soybeans, hearing the swish of milk in the steel pail as my father does the evening milking. As the world turns away from the sun, the sky splashes violent paint across the horizon. There is a resounding silence that arises and almost pulses. The silence has a weight to it or even a flesh. I lean into it, listening for the words I feel are there, unspoken, sensing a connection and an invitation in that silence that beckons me deeper into this life.
I moved from that Iowa farm to a river valley in Alaska in 1975. I listen to mountains, not fields now. Cows have been replaced by moose and bear. I have had several careers where I continued to listen–physical therapist, industry safety consultant, writing consultant to the school district, author/publisher, spiritual director, Lutheran pastor; all have culminated in my current work as the founder and director of the Listening Post of Anchorage where we listen with the vulnerable and marginalized. (For more info go to http://www.listeningpostanchorage.com) As one friend, “Oh I see, you are a mind, body, soul person.” I guess I am, but then, aren’t we all?
As this blog unfolds, I marry the love of listening to words to the love of writing words. I hope you will in turn, share your stories of what you hear as you listen deeply, as you too delve into the words beneath the silence.