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written by Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell | June 1, 2020

When You Don’t Know What to Say

Sometimes words fail us in our attempts to communicate what we are experiencing, articulate our emotions, or to express our deepest feelings. The circular nature of the “scientific conversations” begs for a clearer connection to what is happening in each of our lives at the moment. Life and death issues from COVID 19 to harsh reminders that racism is still alive as yet another unarmed black man, George Floyd, loses his life at the hands, or more accurately stated, by the knee of a white police officer. Sometimes I am speechless.

These are traumatic times. Yes, I pray. Yes, I have faith in God. Yes, I know someday we will look back and understand it better. I have challenged myself to stay mentally engaged and try to find the right words to say to fight off the despair many people in my life are experiencing. I have found encouragement in these words from Howard Thurman writing, ‘Give Me the Listening Ear” in his book Meditations of the Heart. I offer his words as a prayer for each of us as we make room for the sustaining grace of God to lead and guide us into a place of healing and hopefulness.

Dear God,

“Give me the listening ear. The eye that is willing to see.

Give me the listening ear. I seek this day the ear that will not shrink from the word that corrects and admonishes– the word that holds up before me the image of myself that causes me to pause and reconsider — the word that challenges me to pause and reconsider—the word that challenges me to deeper consecration and higher resolve – the word that lays bare the needs that make my own days uneasy, that seizes upon every good decent impulse of my nature, channeling it into paths of healing in the lives of others.

Give me the listening ear. I seek this day the disciplined mind, the disciplined heart, the disciplined life that makes my ear the focus of attention through which I may become mindful of expressions of life foreign to my own. I seek the stimulation that lifts me out of old ruts and established habits which keep me conscious of my self, my needs, my personal interests.

Give me this day – the eye that is willing to see the meaning of the ordinary, the familiar, the commonplace – the eye that is willing to see my own faults for what they are – the eye that is willing to see the likeable qualities in those I may not like – the mistake in what I thought was correct – the strength in what I had labeled as weakness. Give me the eye that is willing to see that Thou hast not left Thyself without a witness in every living thing. Thus to walk with reverence and sensitiveness through all the days of my life.

Give me the listening ear. The eye that is willing to see.”

Speak to me Lord. I am listening.


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