After a quick lesson in WeedWhacking 101 and the peculiarities of the awkwardly balanced machine, Gary handed me the red earmuffs. (I don't think they are actually called earmuffs but they are kin to the soft furry ones intended to keep ears warm in winter.) "Here. Wear these. You don't want to go deaf listening to that whine." I dutifully donned them, noting that the three earrings in each ear did not contribute positively to the comfort level. Oh well. Along with sunglasses, long pants, socks and shoes, I was ready to advance to the front lines.
After refining my technique to allow the proper amount of line to pummel the offending weeds, a sharp edge began to appear along the sidewalk. I felt content knowing the ol' homestead was looking a wee bit tidier. Grass flew in all directions with an occasional pebble making a direct hit on my leg. Once, a shard of mulch lodged itself in my hairline while another rocketed into my cheek. It was a close call and I was thankful for my glasses.
Why did I hear what had been hidden from me moments before? The protection of the ear muffs shut out the surrounding noise and allowed me to hear what had been there all along; the steady, incessant rhythm of my own heart. But without the deliberate move to shut out damaging noise, I would have never noticed.
I think there's a lesson in this story. I am so apt to get wrapped up in doing, intent on making progress and conquer the day. Perhaps if I was more intentional about shutting out the noise, I would actually be aware of the underlying condition of what lies deep inside. Is it a heart that seeks after God? Is it a heart that beats in time with God's? Is it a selfish heart or one that seeks to make another's beat stronger?
Lord, help me to stop and listen. Seal out the noise. Seal in your voice. Reveal and heal any heart condition that does not please you. Make my heart pure and clean for your own glory. Amen.