A Tuned-in Conversation

Monday, January 6 (Epiphany)

1-6By Jeanne and Paul Davis of Lamoni, Iowa, USA

Be mindful of the changing of life’s seasons, of the passage from the springtime of childhood and youth to the winter years of life. Embrace the blessing of your many differences. Be tender and caring. Be reminded once again that the gifts of all are necessary in order that divine purposes may be accomplished.

—Doctrine and Covenants 161:4b

E-mail from Jeanne to Paul: I just answered a phone call at my office this morning from a man who is retiring. He’s starting a new life with a new wife, and they bought a big RV (recreational vehicle). They plan to drive around the USA, tuning old pianos in churches. During the conversation my thoughts took an interesting turn.

I started listening with a hesitance, thinking he was a bored person with big ideas. I didn’t want to spend my morning listening to his ramblings. I didn’t need him to prove himself to me with details. When I realized he wasn’t asking me to hire him or to give him a position at the next church event, I relaxed and listened—really listened. He enlightened me with a new attitude.

He was delightful and genuine. All he wanted was to connect with the RV Association (retirees who travel the country to help in congregations, campgrounds, and historic properties). He hoped that I might know of congregations that needed their pianos tuned. I am so often thinking that people are looking for an angle at money or fame that I almost missed him. I was listening for the catch instead of the truth.

E-mail from Paul to Jeanne: It’s so hard just being open to the experience of other people. We’re on guard even when it’s not about money—like we need to guard against people stealing our time and interest from us.

Every now and then you meet someone who is obviously just open to whatever and whoever comes to them, and then we feel special—when in fact the point is that no one should be special or not special to them. That was an insight I had in Tahiti, too—it’s not that we were so wonderful that we deserved all the gifts they offered, but that they needed to give in order to be Tahitian.

E-mail from Jeanne to Paul: It is rare when we see and hear people without our preconceived attitudes getting in the way. God enlightens us with the possibilities found in people.

Prayer for Peace
Gracious God, open our eyes to see people how you see them; to love them as you do.

Spiritual Practice: Growing a Gracious, Generous Heart
Open your heart to God’s grace and generosity with a “breath prayer.” Let your breathing slow and deepen. Be aware of God’s breath moving in and out of your heart. Spend several minutes focusing on breathing in God’s generosity. With each breath, silently name one gift for which you are thankful. With each breath out, name one gift you want to share from your heart.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will listen for the truth and the yearnings of people to serve.

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