Recently I felt compelled to obey God in a small, but annoying way.
I was taking a break from an activity and wanted to zone out. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I just wanted to be quiet and regroup. I pulled out my phone to play a game. I don’t like playing boring games on my phone, but there is safety when I stare at my phone. It is an unspoken sign to people that I don’t want to talk. Please, you know this is form of nonverbal communication. If someone is on their phone, you don’t try to start a conversation with them, show some respect!
Well, I had been feeling like God wanted me to talk to someone. I see her around the same time every day; the exact time that I’m trying to have peace and quiet. One day last week we were in the same room, no one else was there, and since we were both on our phones there was no obligation to talk. It could have been a perfect situation, except I kept hearing that little voice telling me to put down my phone and start a conversation with this lady I didn’t know. It was really irritating.
I finally… partially… obeyed, and while looking at my phone, noncommittally asked how her day was going. It was fine. And there was awkward silence. I held out for about 20 seconds before I was finally all in, obeyed that little voice, put my phone down, and tried to engage some sort of conversation. I had no idea what I was doing or where this was going.
After several awkward starts and stops and long silent pauses, out of nowhere she started talking about her daughter’s health problems, problems with her ex-husband, and all that had been going on in her life for the past year. It was like someone took their thumb off the garden house and her story was rushing out like water that had been held back.
I just sat there and listened.
I don’t know how this fits in to God’s big plan, but I do know that I wished I had cared enough to put my stupid phone down sooner. It’s crazy how technology can save lives, but also distract us from souls. It seemed like this lady didn’t have many people to talk to, and don’t we all know what it’s like to feel alone? And the feeling is amplified when going through something difficult, isn’t it?
In my experience sometimes all it takes to relieve some of that weighty feeling of ‘aloneness’ is to have someone give you their attention, to care, to listen. Often, that’s why we are willing to pay therapists so much for an hour of attention, right? I learned (again) this week that I’m not often called to do “big” things, but that sometimes living this thing means listening and obeying in the seemingly little things. Someone’s heart may depend on it.