Of “Heartquakes” and Listening

These words from Ann Voskamp from her blog post this past week:  http://www.aholyexperience.com/2014/10/one-brave-way-to-heal-our-relationships-our-hearts-the-internet/

“The way a heart can quake before an earthquake of words.

The way you don’t know if you feel any brave left in your veins. 

I turned to her and handed her a handful of words, a light I’m growing to know in the dark: 

Just —

Never be afraid to listen.


I know the word-quaking a heart can do.  My heart’s been (qu)aching for awhile with words that need to break open that fault line and allow the words to rock my complacent world. Allow the emotions to twist apart the bars of steel my heart has grown far too comfortable with.  An earthquake comes from the moving of the depths of the earth.  Likewise in my heart – my heart, out of which I live, should be shaking up my outward life.  The passions and beliefs I feel deep down should shake up my everyday life.  Too often though, I squelch the vibrant passions and I merely exist out of the necessity of life.  In all the demands of meeting deadlines, I forget to take note of the little joys in life.  I forget to view the world through eyes of wonder, to look around and truly see the little things that make the moments in the day. I lose sight of my passions in life. I ask myself why it is that I equate acceptance with accomplishment.  I wonder why I balance productivity with my level of stress.

The real question is – why am I afraid to allow those words to crack open my soul?  Perhaps I’m telling on myself here but I think so many of us know exactly how it feels when we’re not sure we “feel any brave left in [our] veins”.  What is it that makes me reticent?  What is it that drains the brave right out of my veins?  My heart truly does quake at those blunt questions.  It doesn’t want to listen to my inner soul’s answers.  And I realize that I am afraid to listen.  That’s why I run and run, day in and day out.  The fear of listening to my own soul is the taskmaster driving me to a fuller schedule, longer list of goals, higher count of accomplishments, and stricter demands on my performance.  And at night when my head hits the pillow, it’s then that my inner soul begs for an audience.  But heartless as I am with my own self, I am desperate for an escape.   And like others in my generation, I turn to the cyber world for virtual escape.  I lie there in the dark and I scroll down endless posts on Facebook, looking for something, anything, that will distract my inner voice asking to be heard.  My generation escapes into the lure of the screen in any way that they can in order to escape reality – sports, reality shows, horror movies, online chat rooms, virtual games, porn, fantasy worlds, music, and the list could go on.  Facebook likes, Twitter re-tweets, hashtags, and Youtube videos gone viral have become our obsession and our twisted concept of who we are.

We are more than this, my friends!  It’s hard to take time to listen to your heart’s quaking, your soul’s longings in a world that is so driven by performance.  It goes against our perceptions of expectations to sit in silence with ourselves or with others and really hear the heart’s expression.  Because it can’t be measured with flowcharts and graphs, it seems a futile pursuit for us to seek after copious amounts of time spent sitting in the presence of our Father.

When that struggling soul comes to you and tells you that all their brave has left their veins and they don’t know how they can cope with life – Listen!  When your friend confides that she doesn’t know how to be a good mom for her kids when every day is a dark drudgery for her – Just listen to her brave heart.  When your friend sits with you and tells you that her dreams and passions bring conflict to her every day reality – applaud her brave soul and Listen!  When your friend tells you that nursing school is putting an unbearable strain on their marriage and she doesn’t know if they can still love each other – Listen to her exhausted but brave heart.  When your friend tells you that her mom is fighting that ravaging disease called Cancer and they don’t know how much of her body it’s reached already – Listen to her unspoken fears.  But hardest of all…When your own heart tells you that it’s exhausted, fearful, and a cowering soldier gone AWOL from daily battle – go easy on yourself.  Listen! and then be okay with resting, with seeking your squelched passions and taking the time to pursue the healing you are in desperate need of.

At the end of the day, even though your heart is registering a 7.0 on the Richter scale of magnitude, Just never be afraid to listen.”

Thanks to Ann Voskamp for the inspiration for this post!