L'Abri Journals...ACGray

June 2004
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A Listening Ear

We are not called upon only to do what God wills, but to do it at the moment He wills, to know how to bide God's time  To seek in this way to enter into Gods adventure through all we do, all we think, and all we feel is, I believe, the meaning of life.  If He gave us life, it was for that  for it to be fitted into His plan and thus to contribute to its realization so that through this constant collaboration we might enter into ever closer intimacy with Him.  This involves not only the great decisions of our lives but also the tiniest details, for which from meditation to meditation we can seek and obtain from Him concrete guidance.       

                                       Paul Tournier, The Adventure of Living


Chalet LAbri, June 2004....acg                      


          These days I have been feasting again on the wisdom of Paul Tournier.  In his book, A Listening Ear, this:  I do not write for the sake of writing, but in order to continue caring for men and women, to help them to live better lives, to overcome or accept their sufferings.  I identify with those sentiments and earnestly hope that something I share may somehow help those who read my words.  The book's title appealed to me immediately when it was first published in 1984 because I was an auditor by chosen vocation, and the true definition of an auditor was one who hears.  Since then, I have wanted deeply to be an effective listener, to the extent that I can identify to the maximum with the joys or sorrows of all the people I  encounter daily.

            In his book, Learn to Grow Old, this:  For me the meaning of life is what Jesus variously calls the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, and eternal life.  He does not situate it in the distant future, but in the immediate present.  The Kingdom of God, He says, is very near you (Luke 19.9)There is something of eternal life in every authentic personal act, and every genuine personal contact.  I underline his words authentic and genuine with an earnest yearning to apply those adjectives to all my encounters.   Then the King will say, Im telling the solemn truth:  Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me you did it to me. (Matthew 25:40).  Pray heaven, let me grow older caring.

            Summer has descended full leaf on these Piney Mountain Acres where I dwell.  With more than ample rains lately, my woods have the appearance of a tropical place.  Hal Borland in his book, Beyond Your Doorstep, writes that if you would know strength and majesty and patience, welcome the company of trees.  The dense woods back of my abode provide a barrier of privacy and a haven of plant and animal life I can view from my kitchen, living room, and bedroom windows.  Bumble bees burrow in the overhang above the kitchen window.  Wasps, too, construct mud tunnels under the eaves.  Enjoy my hospitality, I say, invoking Schweitzers ethic of Reverence for Life.   Suzie and Sammy Squirrel, with their destructive lifestyle, are, however, gently encouraged to find lodging in the high pines and tulip poplars hereabouts, not under my roof!  Deer are occasional visitors, munching their way into my backyard unperturbed.  The neighbors cat sleeps often on my front lawn yawning his contentment and gratitude for being here.  My sentiments, exactly! 


The Bible will be self-authenticating to you.  It will find you at your deepest depths.  You will know that it is inspired, for you will find it inspiring.  You will know that God has gone into it, for God comes out of it.  It is a revelation, for it reveals.  It is an exhaustless mine.  You think you have exhausted it, and then you put down the shaft of meditation and strike new veins of rich ore.  Your very brain cells will be eager and alert with expectancy.  You will have what Spinoza calls an intellectual love of God.                                            

                                                      E. Stanley Jones, The Way to Power and Poise



The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched - they must be felt with the heart ~ Helen Keller