“And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language”? – Acts 2:8 (NRSV)
I’m not going to “bright side” the tragedy of the past 15 months, but I will say this: there have been some blessings in this season.
One of these blessings is that, at least for me, I have been deepening in my relationships. Having real and long conversations with people I love around the world. I talk daily – sometimes for hours – with people. And this didn’t happen before. In fact, I almost never talked on the phone socially prior to the pandemic. (At least not since middle school.)
We are talking. And we’re talking deeply. Sharing more than we usually would. Moving past trying to put on a cheerful take and into more intimacy and vulnerability.
And with this deep talking, so many of us have also been practicing deep listening, too.
What is deep listening?
Deep listening, as one piece put it, is “listening to learn.”
And what happens when we listen deeply is that we come to understand someone better.
Deep listening is an antidote to isolation. Nothing feels better than being seen, heard, and loved for who we are. In fact, this is one of the primary purposes of church.
We are now in the season of Pentecost, which reminds us that when the church was born, they were together. They were worshiping. And they were seen. And heard. And cared for. They didn’t just talk; they revealed who they were, and they were loved and understood. They learned from and about each other. All facilitated by the Holy Spirit.
Which to me means that in these moments of intense isolation, when we have these opportunities of connection, we are actually receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are experiencing God.
Is this your church? If so, give thanks. If not, ask questions.
Thank you for the opportunity to love and to be loved. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.