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Trading a Fishing Pole for a Snorkel and Mask

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3

I have a splint banded into my mouth for the next three months as I heal from jaw surgery. Its no surprise to me or anyone around me that not talking and not eating is a sad new reality for an extravert. But I have been surprised by HOW sad it makes I've been banished. If I dig only slightly deeper, its not banishment that makes me sad as much as the fear of disconnection. I connect with words. I feel connected to others through my words, as if they were my arms and hands reaching out and grabbing hold of other people and drawing them in for a hug.

But in my new splinted state, trying to speak AND be understood is so exhausting that it makes me physically short of breath and in immediate need of a nap. Choosing to be silent has already made me wonder if many of my words aren't to reach out and hug others as much as to tell them what to do, or what to think, or how to change, or to talk about myself or affirm them in my desire to feel connected. Maybe my fear of losing connection suggests that my words act like a fishing pole, catching and collecting people to keep near me in the boat.

What if, like my incredibly wise friend Donna Barber said, "We can only trust that God is up to something new and miraculous. Take the opportunity to practice deep listening and the empathy and compassion that can be communicated through touch. Have loooong conversations in the Spirit with the Father lifting up prayers for friends, family and those you do not know." What a beautiful opportunity and invitation to genuinely practice presence with others, especially and most essentially my own family.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:6-8

Giving up my words for a season invites more space for the words of others, the words of the Spirit, and the living and active Word made flesh who dwells among us. May I enjoy the grace of spending less time lamenting the loss of my fishing pole and more time enjoying swimming among all the beautiful fish!

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