Downtown Hays, Kansas
"Thank you for hearing me
Thank you for hearing me
Thank you for hearling me
Thank you for hearing me…"
- Sinead O'Connor
And thank you for hearing the difference.
On Monday afternoon I backed out of the driveway and waved a bittersweet "see you Sunday…" to my dear husband and our silly puppy….the girls were already at school. I was heading west…heading home. As each Midwest mile slipped away behind me and the Rockies beckoned...invisibly at first from in front of me...tight bands of aching loosened from around my heart and each breath came more freely and fully.
I wasn't surprised. Sometimes just getting on the road to somewhere I am only known--and defined by my moment by moment behavior of genuine humanity, authentic compassion, and those blessedly random opportunities to act with kindness--is the most refreshing and renewing time for me.
After enjoying a lovely dinner with a dear friend in Kansas City, I got back on the road looking forward to the next day's sidetrips into small towns like Hays, Abilene, Colby and Stratton. There is something so reaffirming about getting off the highway in a little Midwest farming community and wandering into their downtown. A coffeehouse or bakery on a near empty Main Street beckons and I am completely at home. As I walk through the front door I know that I will only be judged on how considerate I am of others, how patient I am with the person behind the counter. My character will be determined by my behavior. I will not be known for past successes or failures, but by how I behave and interact with those I come in contact with each moment....moment by moment.
As I was pondering whether to stop in a rest area to check emails (did you know that the rest areas along Route 70 in Kansas have free wifi ?!?!?) my cell phone rang. I picked it up and answered with my usual, "This is Kate.." greeting and it was a friend from St. Louis, just calling to let me know she was thinking about me on my drive. Then she asked the most unusual question, "Is this really you, your voice sounds so different? You sound so clear and strong and peaceful and happy."
Hmmm…what did my voice usually sound like? Well, I knew the answer to that question. It often sounded, even to me, strained, concerned… uncertain, not of God…but of myself. I realized that lately I have often looked at my self through the lens of how others might be seeing me. I worry about whether I am judged, kindly or harshly, by my past choices, mistakes, successes or failures. This observation by my friend gave me a lot to ponder. I spent most of the night, as I wended my way across eastern Kansas (stopping often to check emails or nap), wondering if my voice sounded different because I was away from St. Louis. Or was it perhaps that I was already anticipating being completely free of past impressions or future expectations…living only in the moment of being good, kind, generous, patient with anyone I would meet on my travels.
When I stopped in Hays the next morning for breakfast at Café Semolina I was conscious of how much I loved just striking up a conversation with the young woman behind the counter. She was graceful, kind to the older gentleman in line before me, and happy to serve me my tea and scone. I learned that she had moved to Hays from Maine earlier that year to be near her parents who had relocated to Kansas for her dad's work. She liked the weather, but missed the ocean. We talked for a bit about things we both loved and then I found a place on the sofa by the fireplace to work. I could hear my voice…resonant, strong, confident…echoing through my heart.
My friend had pointed out the difference in the way my voice sounded on the phone the night before, the way someone with perfect pitch can sense when an instrument is out of tune. By letting me know what the true tone sounded like and when she heard it, I could then identify what it felt like and where it came from and practice living out from that space.
God's name is "I AM." I will never find the voice of God…in myself or in others…if I am speaking or listening for messages based in "I was" or "I will be"..."What if" or "What might"...
Keeping my instrument in tune with the perfect pitch of God as I AM is now vital to me. I want my voice to echo His…only.
My friend later shared this in an email:
"On the way to church tonight I was thinking about acoustics and comparing one's inner voice to a musical instrument. The tone quality inherent in an instrument never changes, but it sounds very different depending upon the acoustics of the room in which it is played. In a "dead" room, a Stradivarius violin may still be lovely but in a limited way, but play it in a concert hall and WOW! I was looking at it all wrong--your voice doesn't change in St. Louis, but as you said, you hear it differently away from here. The other night, I heard your voice in a concert hall!"
For me, this was what I needed to hear. The dead room was my concept of myself based on a "dead" past…or a not yet "born" future. The "concert hall" was not a place…a road in Kansas, a camp in Colorado or a cottage by the ocean off the coast of Maine.
The "concert hall" I was playing my instrument in that night was a consciousness so grounded in the freedom of I AM that it wasn't looking backwards or forwards, but enjoying the moment of being…in the nowness of I AM…right now! Everytime I look back at myself, or someone else, through the lens of the past...or through a conditional lens of the future...as in: "when you do this, then I will love you, be kind to you, accept you"...I am sitting in a dead room with a divinely-created Stradivarious, wasting the moment. But when I live and love in the present-tense-ness of the I AM, the only reality that God knows...I am in the Carnegie Hall of being. I have the opportunity to be living as if I've just wandered on to Main Street, Hays, Kansas and any door I walk through will be magical with promise.
I'm ready to BE...to be heard, to be kind, to be me...not just have been, or be someday...and to let everyone else BE too. But it took a road trip, and the listening heart of a friend with perfect pitch to discover what my true voice sounded like and how to practice using an "in tune" instrument. My week was full of concert hall moments...and continues to be, right here in St. Louis. Now that I have found my voice, I intend to keep it in tune and only play it in the best acoustical settings...a consciousness filled with the I AM of God, Love.
"...Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee...
…I am Thine, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee."
- F.R. Havergal
With Love and gratitude for the perfect pitch of friendship….it always detects the true tone...