Whenever I struggle with a concept, I pick up my guitar or sit down at the piano and write a song. It is one of the best ways for me to process anything that challenges me. As an Early Childhood Music Educator and performer, writing a song also helps me figure out how I can best teach those challenging concepts to others.
Sometimes the song ends up being for nobody else’s ears but mine. And other times, I realize that it would behoove me to share those songs with others in an effort to help them process the challenges posed by the song. Wouldn’t you know that those songs often end up being some of my most popular and most requested songs? “Are You Listening, God”, from my Bring The Sabbath Home CD, is one of those songs. You can hear a clip of it here. (You have to use the horizontal scroll bar to move across the pictures of CDs until you see “Bring The Sabbath Home” and then click on it to bring you to the page for that CD.)
Which brings me to my understanding of God. Until recently I don’t think that I moved beyond understanding or believing that God was anything more than a wise, old man sitting on a throne sporting a white gown and a long beard. Furthermore, how could God listen to me and everyone else at the same time? How could God be in two places at the same time? Struggling with that fact made it almost impossible for me to believe anything more than what I already believed about God. Again, back to the throne and gown and beard picture.
At some point, after quite a few personal struggles got the better of me, I decided to suspend my disbelief and try on the idea that God was real and that I could make room for God in my life. I mean, a lot of other people believed in God, so I was willing to give it a try. From that vantage point, I allowed myself to then begin to question whether God was listening to me.
One day, I was walking on the beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, when the questions came fast and furious. God, are you really there? God, do you really care? God, do you hear me when I say my prayers?
I can’t say for sure whether God answered my questions directly. That is not even the issue. What is more the issue is that, surprise of surprises, it brought me a great deal of comfort to ask those questions. I learned that it was not so much about whether God was in fact sitting on that throne in a white gown, with a long white beard. It was more about my engaging in the process of asking questions. Asking a question suggested that I already believed that there was someone listening, someone hearing my words.
As long as I continue to ask God those questions, I believe that I am engaging in a relationship with God. It is that engagement that allows me to nurture my relationship with God. It is that engagement that gives me hope that God in fact hears and listens to my prayers.
May we all find the strength and courage to engage with God, to talk with God, to nurture a relationship with God, to come to a place of belief that God hears and listens to our prayers.
This post is part of a #BlogElul project created by The Paradigm Project, a team of practitioner-activists and consultants focused on multiplying and nurturing the seeds of excellence in Jewish early childhood education. 27 people were invited to submit their posts on a particular topic of choice. I chose the topic “Hear”. I am honored to have my post be included in their project.