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Monday Musing – Advent, Week 1

Advent is here. I feel deeply invited to slow down and I mean really slow down, in ways that I have not for a long, long time. Will I respond to the invitation?

On Sunday I was out doing some errands, eliminating the unnecessary as I went along. No – not because of Advent. While I would like to assign some deeper and more significant meaning to my acts, I must admit that it was little more than extreme exhaustion. Sleep has been spotty for me lately and I am just too tired to do to much.

While I was I was listening to NPR and there was an interview with musician Gabriel Kahane. I had never heard of him, but I sat in the car, listening to the story, not getting out, even though I had arrived at my destination.

During the interview, Kahane starts to talk about music in “the age of Spotify.” He went on to discuss – and mind you, this is a younger person – the challenges of so much information, this in the form of music on the internet. He spoke of music in the not-too-distant past, as well as the past as something else and he even used the words to say that we were once “curators” of our collections. Now music is just everywhere and available and he spoke of the challenge to “listen” as opposed to just “hear.”

This “inattentive listening” and how, in the age of the internet, with the ease of purchase (click!) means that we might not really focus on things in the same way. I liked how he talked about buying albums in the past and I was reminded of my once huge and unusual album (yes, I mean vinyl!) collection.

In that era, you would find me in obscure record stores, mulling over my options. Would I like all the songs? I did not know, so I would really have to consider what I was buying. Once home, I would remove the shrink wrap, take the vinyl from the sleeve and place it on the turntable… Then it would play and I would not be doing other things, but I would sit and listen to the songs. Sometimes I would be delighted and other times I would not be. However, Kahane spoke of playing things more than once to see if you would like it – you know, to slowly give the music a chance. It often worked that way for me – I would grow to like the album over time and it was an investment. It was – well, like a relationship!

Today we live in a try-it-once-discard-it-quickly world. Not happy? Be done with it, move on. Our relationships are like this too. As for God – well – how many of us actually spend time with God? Even those of us who profess to do so? Do we listen? Do we invest? Seriously?

Thus – it is Advent and I want to slow down and to spend some time in deep listening. I may not like what I hear, but maybe if grace helps me to be patient, and I slowly keep at it, things will deepen. The days will grow shorter and darker, I will be pulled at, as will you, to do more and be more and to certainly buy more.

However, at least for today, I want to be moving at a different speed, so that is how I will begin my Monday. Pray for me that I might stick with it. And be assured, I will be praying for you. Ready, set… slow. Have a good first week of Advent.


6 Responses

  1. I love this post. Erik and I have been keeping quite a pace lately. While necessary and hopefully temporary, your words challenge me to find moments of peace and silence and listening in the midst of the racing around. “Let nothing disturb you” is a verse I’ve been keeping close to my heart lately. As I continue to juggle through this Advent season, my goal, perhaps, should be to quiet my heart and still my soul, protecting my peace within from the insanity without. Thankfully, the Prince of Peace is not opposed to being born into than chaos.

  2. Sorry for the typo in my last sentence…case in point, I guess! Thank you for this blog.

  3. Blessings on your moving more slowly and listening more deeply…

  4. Katie and Claire – thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

    Katie, trust me, talk is cheap – my own life is lived at crazily-not-present speeds. I love that you refer to “let nothing disturb you,” a favorite image of mine from St. Teresa of Avila. Christ does find us everywhere.

    Please know how grateful I am that you are reading and commenting here on the blog!

    Claire – thanks. Let’s see how I do! As I said to Katie, talk is cheap!

  5. Oh, wow, what a great post for the start of Advent!

    That interview sounds fascinating. As a high school teacher, I often marvel at the technology that is available to teens today, versus what was there when I was in school. It used to be a big deal to have a CD, so you could actually skip ahead to exactly the song you wanted instead of fast-forwarding tape! That felt like a huge luxury.

    And now, as you say, so much is so available so easily, just as we like it .. and are we any the better for it? I’m not sure.

    Listening and investing: good words to live by this Advent. Thank you.

    • Ginny, thank you for coming by. I was really stopped in my tracks by the concept of less-attentive forms of attention, mostly because of how busy I am. Yes – remember the fast forward on the cassette… too soon, too far, too soon, too far!

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