I am not sure exactly how I was led to the High Calling website, but the Photoplay, “Conversations”, enticed me to jump right in and join the community. As a photographer I love the challenge of seeking an image to convey a given message, and as a speech pathologist, I have been privy to some of the most miraculous conversations. Many of these exchanges have taken place without the use of spoken words, in a quiet intimacy between two hearts listening and responding to each other.
I worked with my friend Michael for several hours during morning boot camp (www.CampCarekids.org) this past week. Michael is an amazing 20-something young man with an enormous spirit and a body, at best, that resembles a crumpled bedcover. Our “conversation” covered the following thoughts: We were happy to see each other. Michael had just completed his therapy intensive for the summer. His parents are looking for a new day program for him but he’d rather just come to Crossroads to do his work. It feels good for Michael’s twisted body to be stretched out on the mat, and it is a lot of work for him to be up on his elbows with his body across my lap for better positioning. I need to keep working out, and step it up a bit. With a little support to his forehead he can look around and see what his friends are doing. Later on, Michael uttered his first word of the day, “home.” He wanted to leave and see his father, who hadn't made the trip.
When I work with my patients, I let go of my head noise so I can hear them. I hear their voices through their eye gaze, in their smiles, in the tension or relaxation of their muscles, in an accelerated heart rate or a relaxing sigh. I listen with my hands as I hold them and help them move or rest. We move together, resisting gravity, or in opposition, negotiating a goal. Through the fear and resistance, I hear some of the most incredible songs and stories, vulnerabilities, conquests and dreams that God has placed in human hearts. Sometimes there are few words. Sometimes there are so many words a deeper meaning begs excavation from below the surface.
At the end of that day, my body was tired but I was feeling especially at peace. I awoke the next morning with the realization that I had been blessed with a conversation that I didn’t easily recognize. During our workout, Michael “spoke” to me of great love, not of “doing” because I was helping him, but of “being” because God created me. It’s the transformative kind of love that God wants to lavish upon us. I must confess that although I seek to bless with that kind of love, my heart is often too guarded and my mind too distracted to receive it.
My time with Michael reaffirmed the truth that we are not called to love in spite of a person’s perceived flaws, struggles, defects or differences from us. We are not called to pray to fix what makes us uncomfortable or irritated, or to manipulate a situation. We are called to love as the Father loves (John 13:34-45), with vision that sees beyond the outward covering and into the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). How beautiful our conversations must sound to Him when we slow down, listen and respond to each other with worshipful hearts, eyes, hands and spirits, surrendered in intimacy as He created us to be!