"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Monday, June 30, 2014

She Talketh Too Much

At the suggestion of a friend, I pulled up a movie on Netflix this last week and, over a 3 day period, watched Shall We Dance? on my cell phone. While the title was in English, what she failed to mention was that the movie and dialogue were in Japanese. And so for those 2 hours, I both watched the action and read the translation that appeared at the bottom of that tiny screen that sat perched on the treadmill.

The movie itself was okay, but what was so humorous to me over and over again in what was considered to be a drama was the time it would take for a character to say something compared to the amount of words in the caption. He or she would rattle on and on in a language that was so foreign to me, often times said very seriously, and then only four or five words would appear on the screen. On a number of occasions, I thought to myself, "They left something out there. He said a lot more than that." In fact, I felt purely cheated.

The point of my watching that movie never surfaced as I was looking for a particular quote or conversation between two of the characters ... which I never saw (or read). But what I did discover, or maybe just realized again, is just how many empty words we use when, really, just a few will do. And no one is more guilty than I. 

We do live in a wordy world. Words reeking with emptiness. In our conversations with each other. In our writings. (You are reading an example of that now.) And certainly in our relationship with God. But is there really such a thing as praying too much? I imagine that if we were to keep a record of the words we speak in prayer compared to the words we hear GOD speak, our side would be lengthier and ... well, wordier. But whose words are more important? His or ours? I think we all know the answer to that.

Having experienced the limited captions in the film, I have been challenged to speak less and listen more. Particularly in my prayer life. The appeal is to limit my prayers to 3 words per subject. Therefore, I attempt to listen and then choose them very carefully. With a particular person or situation in mind, I am learning to simply pray, "Send Your Spirit."  Or maybe, "Heal her mind." "Open my eyes." "Take note, Lord." "Bring Your peace." "Lead him." "Have mercy." "Establish what You have wrought." Yes, I know that last one exceeds the limit. And so I remind myself this is not a legalistic exercise but a spiritual discipline of listening more and talking less. 

But don't take my word for it. Listen to Jesus' example and instruction on effective praying: 

"Thy kingdom come."

"Thy will be done."

"Give us this day."

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others.'

"Lead us not into temptation."

"Deliver us from the evil one."

Yes,short, power-packed words that penetrate the very heavens.

So, why do we talketh so much .... especially when we have so little to say? And He has so much?

Just an ordinary moment...