Listen to Your Life

veggie stand

“Listen to your life.
See it for the fathomless mystery that it is.
In the boredom and pain of it
no less than in the excitement and gladness:
touch, taste, smell your way
to the holy and hidden heart of it
because in the last analysis
all moments are key moments,
and life itself is grace.”

-Frederich Buechner

I have two more days of my sabbatical, as I return to my church work on Sunday, September 1st. There is a lot that I am still doing on these final two days…continuing to purge, organize, and clean my house; writing on my fiction project (a young adult novel); making improvements to my blog, celebrating my just-announced-yesterday engagement to the love of my life (yay!), and practicing deep breathing through it all.

I have been listening to my life for 10 weeks, and contemplating how I will remember to listen to my life when the responsibility of a full-time job with two faith communities hits me on Sunday.

My life depends on my capacity to keep listening to it. This means listening to my body–noticing when I am hungry or tired, or when I am breathing only shallowly. It means listening to my emotions–noticing what I am feeling and what happened to trigger those feelings. And it means listening to my spirit–noticing when I am in need of silence, nature, blue sky, love.

My life depends on listening to my life. Because when I don’t listen, life begins to seep out of me. When I don’t listen to my life, I begin to lose it. I begin to forget who I am, or why I am here.

Not that I’m always sure of who I am or why I am here. But when I listen to my life, I do a lot better job of living it.


  1. Bob Braxton says:

    After twenty-seven years as Senior Pastor of a program-size (650 members) congregation, on 2011 September 1 my spouse (Rev. Dr.) and I began retirement, which I call “Third Life.” During that quarter century she got two sabbaticals, the first in 1994 which began her five year D. Min. studies (while also full-time head of staff). Your post two days prior to end of this sabbatical encourages her and me to listen to our Third Life. By the way, congratulations! Happened for us in January, 1967, in the midst of a seminary intern year where participants lived in East Harlem – UMC-sponsored Metropolitan Urban Service Training. While scarcely anyone remembers that exciting venture, we still meet now and then for a spirited reunion, this next Wednesday to half of Sunday just north of Asheville, NC. Pray for travel mercies. We just returned from two-week Presbyterian partnership mission trip with members at Njoro, Kenya, P.C.E.A. orphans and vulnerable children programme, returning August 18th, a Sunday.

  2. Thanks for the congratulations, Bob! And I’m so glad you’re listening to your Third Life. It allows our lives to be as full of life as they can be. That might sound redundant, but sometimes life is not as “alive” as it could be. I think what we’re going for is “abundant life” in the sense of spiritual abundance and depth (as opposed to some kind of material abundance.)

    Blessings on your Journey and I will certainly pray for traveling mercies for you and your wife!

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