What Do You Hear?

Updated: Jul 19


It was four a.m. and I was sitting on my porch watching kittens wrestle. It was the lazy kind of wrestling too, where one plops on top of the other, only to immediately forget exactly what it was doing. I felt the same way. I think we all do sometimes.


We forget why we are working so hard at jobs we don’t necessarily like.

We forget why we put up with personalities and situations that cause us stress.

Like the kittens on my porch, we make bigger than life efforts to climb and to fight our way to the top of the day, and once there, we honestly can’t remember why we are doing any of it.


That’s why I was up early.


I wanted to start a habit whereby I would begin my day with the why. Why do I do what I do? Why do I fight with my desires and inclinations all day long to achieve what really only seems like a small step from day to day?


So after setting an alarm the previous night, I managed to stumble my way outside in the very early morning and sit in the dark, and because I live farther from civilization than most, I was able to hear the bullfrogs, and crickets, and some other strange noises that children’s stories are written about.


And here’s what I realized.

Your smile, your kind word, your effort to become a saint even if it only happens in small, imperceptible steps—it matters. Maybe not to you, maybe you have your moments when you couldn’t care less. But others care.

Something wonderful happens at times like these—times where we just don’t know why we do anything. It is the overwhelming and unavoidable feeling that though one is alone in the moment, we know that we are actually not alone. We know because we can somehow feel it within; that if we just asked God at that moment to join us, He would. And if we asked Him to provide the why for our lives and the trajectory we are on, He might if we could just keep still long enough to hear the answer that would motivate us many days or even weeks into the future.


So that’s what I did.


I asked God why. I asked Him why He wants me to write, and to speak, and to pray, and to hold back my temper and my sharp tongue and the many vices that I do battle with every single day.


It was then that I received a text on the phone that I didn’t even realize I had with me.


“Hello,” said the simple message from my own mother. “Can I call you or can you call me?”


I had to laugh because suddenly the why was simple. I love my mother. For her I would get up painfully early on a thousand mornings and I would stay up into a never ending night just in case she needed me.


That’s why.


We need each other—throughout the day, every day, in your family, among your friends, and even in circles you are loath to identify with.


Your smile, your kind word, your effort to become a saint even if it only happens in small, imperceptible steps—it matters. Maybe not to you, maybe you have your moments when you couldn’t care less. But others care.


And the rest of the day, today in fact, if you are reading this early enough, what you do in the hours ahead affects those you love. They need you to become the saint that you were made to be.


That’s what I heard anyway.





in Christ,


patrick

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