Waiting and Listening

Dec 11, 2010

Waiting and listening sound like noble and holy practices for Advent. But I’ve done more waiting and listening this Advent than I care to.

Our first Sunday in Michigan, I went to our new church and sang with gusto. Two days later, I went to an evening worship service, opened my mouth to sing, and only croaks came out. It was strange. My speaking voice seemed fine. I’ve tried to sing again and still very little voice comes out after two weeks. This has never happened before. I admit to a little worry. Scary and outlandish diagnoses flit through my mind. “Maybe an odd insect from Israel burrowed into my vocal chords.” But worry, I remind myself, is not a substitute for prayer.

On Wednesday I’m going to see a doctor who specializes in vocal chords. I’m waiting to see if my voice will come back. I’m listening instead of singing. These supposedly lofty Advent goals of waiting and listening are no fun at all. Whenever I hear Christmas music, I want to join in. Instead I cry. Even my crying sounds pathetic.

If there is an upside to this time, it is this. When I’m tempted to raise my voice, I can’t. I’ve kept my mouth shut on more occasions than usual, not out of righteousness but out of necessity. It feels good to withhold unnecessary comments and spontaneous outbursts.¬†This is a practice I might want to continue—voice or no voice.

I have no choice but to wait. In the waiting I hear Psalms 27:14 over and over again: “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (NIV) I listen to the Taize musical version of this Psalm and sing along in my head.

P.S. Prayers welcome. Withhold worry.