A strongly encouraged, gentle reminder to listen and communicate

Monday, March 28, 2011
We have all of us, or most of us, a quiet current if intimate thought, which flows on, gently and resistlessly, in the background of our lives, the volume and spring of which we cannot alter or diminish, because it rises far away at some unseen source, like a stream which flows through grassy pastures, and is fed by rain which falls on unknown hills from the clouds of heaven. This inner thought is hardly affected by the busy incidents of life - our work, our engagements, our public intercourse; but because it represents the self which we are always alone with, it makes up the greater part of our life, and is much more our real and true life than the life which we lead in public. It contains the things which we feel and hope, rather than what we say; and the fact that we do not speak our inner thoughts is what more than anything else keeps us apart from each other.

Preface from Joyous Guard by Arthur C. Benson, 1913

A gentle reminder that our inner lives are of such importance and power, far greater even than our physical lives. Yet we take such little notice of them and make no great effort to review or shape them or get help when we seem to be inwardly ill or moving in circles that drag us downward. Having a friend to share our inner intimate struggles and dreams with can be as healthy and helpful as having a counsellor or Spiritual Director to assist us. Yet many do not even have this great gift of a confidant.

When we don't have people who can listen to us and who's opinion we trust, we become less than. If we continue down this path we can become hard and our spirits shrink. We lose our way, becoming confused and unclear, withdrawing from the world more and more.

Many of us prefer the perceived safety of being our own best friends and trusting no one outside ourselves. This is so dangerous. While our friends try to get our attention and our spouses try to communicate past our walls of protection or our children call for aid, we are obliviously propping up our inner lives we've created to please ourselves. It is the great lie that we are enough in ourselves. We are not enough, and we need others to speak into our lives as much as we need a touch, a hug, an embrace.

If you are not giving attention to your inner life in ways that share with others, a friend, a spouse, even a counsellor or Spiritual Director, then you are living on borrowed time.

Someone nearby may be trying to get your attention.

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