A Squawking World


Pay attention to what you hear… Mark 4:24

It was a beautiful quiet moment. I sat on a shaded park bench without interruption of cell phones, appointments or other demands for my attention. An occasional bird song provided a hymn of praise while just beyond me the sun shone through pine branches. I could imagine God as my touchable companion.

And then came squawks and screams! Suddenly a brood of magpies flew from branch to branch, their chorus more cacophonous than melodic as they quarrelled over some tasty morsel. My idyll was broken, my mood shattered, my emotions driven from contemplation to disappointment.

Pausing momentarily in self-pity, I began to hear not magpies but a squawking, screaming world. People lost in confusion, fighting over false morsels the world offers, flying from place to place, person to person seeking satisfaction. While I need time for uninterrupted contemplation, my other call is to live in the world as Jesus did. He invited his friends to “get away and rest awhile,” but he was also willing to be interrupted by a woman drained by life’s miseries, by children needing attention, by a curious, outcast man sitting on a tree branch trying to see Jesus.

The poet John O’Donohue wrote, “One of the deepest longings of the human soul is to be seen,” and the squawking magpies remind me to not only see the souls’ longings, but also hear them. I am called to be an imitator of God as I listen: “Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).

By Marilyn Ehle
Used by Permission

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