George Frederik Watts, Hope (1886) Tate National Gallery
What can you hear, Hope?
Sitting there on top of the world, what do you hear?
Away from the hustle and bustle,
from the clamour and clanging of city living,
what can you hear, Hope?
They say that when you lose one sense the others compensate.
I wonder when you lost your sight, did your hearing become more acute?
Were you more able to hear the still small voice of God?
Can you hear it now, Hope?
What does it sound like? For I have never heard it.
Does God have a soft, gentle voice
or is it loud and booming?
My life is full of noise:
the radio and TV, music, the sound of traffic outside my window,
birdsong and wind in the nearby trees,
tooting horns, pneumatic drills, young folk screaming and laughing on their way to college,
All day long there is noise and I quite like it.
I like hearing the world going on around me.
But how shall I hear that still small voice amidst it all?
I close my eyes and imagine I am on the top of the world…
those worldly sounds begin to fade…
my breathing slows… in and out… in and out…
nothing to see, but feel the earth beneath me and the air around me.
Praying for hope and hearing,
praying for listening this Lent.