I cannot remember a time when I have slept so much. I got sick on Friday, and have slept at least 10 hours every night since then....plus naps. I am a firm believer that when you're sick, the best treatment is sleeping. Luckily, I have the opportunity to do that. But, sleeping makes me feel weak. Not, "I'm a weak little baby" (said in a Schwarzenagger voice), but, you know, I get up and walk around for a while and am just wiped. Plus, Tropical Storm Hermine (pronounced "hur-mine", not like the character from Harry Potter, contrary to what I believed and was corrected about by the weatherman on Channel 2) has rolled into Houston and it's been raining, a lot, feeding my sleepiness.
On Sunday, a great friend of mine who is in the seminary in Houston, invited me to Mass and brunch. I was excited because I hadn't seen him in quite some time and I love the Church at St. Mary's Seminary. (Sidenote - I'm a sucker for liturgical art. The way a Church is designed and the art in it should lead the congregation closer to God. See CCC 2503-2503.) St. Mary's is old school and has a fantastic ceiling above the sanctuary. There's gold and a ton of symbolism in everything. Needless to say, I was stoked. I was feeling sick, but I knew I needed to go to Mass and the trip was worth the sacrifice at 9am. I arrived just in time and followed my friend into Mass.
Never have I felt like I stood out soooooo much. I was the lone girl in a sea of 85-ish seminarians/deacons/priests. Awesome. They were all in suits (or clerics) and I in a modest gray and black dress (thank God I got the color memo). However, I was wearing a bright red-orange cardigan which announced my presence...as did my lack of a Y chromosome. I fidgeted the entire time with what I was wearing, even though I was completely modest, and freaked out if I should have worn my floor length burlap sack.
Mass was great. I was a bit foggy with my cold/flu, but it was nice. Brunch was great. I got to see some friends from college also, and it was great to sit and chat with these awesome men. My friend wanted to catch up, so after brunch we went on a walk on the grounds.
St. Mary's has a great path system in the woods, complete with stations, and my friend showed me the tennis courts and all the other fun stuff, including the damage that still exists after Hurricane Ike.
On our walk, we talked (of course) and I asked him a very blunt question - "How do you hear God?" I think he was a bit taken aback, so I explained myself. A couple weeks ago, a former teen of mine asked how I hear God. My immediate reaction was, "I don't know", when in reality I do know. I told her that I just hear Him and I didn't know how to teach that. Since then, I've been on a survey kick, asking people how they hear God. My seminarian friend told me he just kind of gets a nudge on his shoulder. My BFFK (that would translate into my "best friend friend Kristin" aka, the "housemate") hears God kind of the same way I do. Her husband hears God through people. (Sidenote - when I asked him how he knew he was supposed to marry Kristin, he said "God said 'marry her or I'll kick your butt'"...I laughed...hard. He was kidding.) My mom doesn't hear God the way I do. Neither does my dad. It got me thinking...how do I hear God? How did I get to this point?
I'm no mystic. I'm not a saint. But, I wanted to know how did I get to place when I hear Him in the bathroom a lot of the time. I know it hasn't always been that way, but what happened?
I sat down with BFFK and we talked it out. I realized that when I did first "hear" God speak to me, I already knew His voice. I had heard it before, but I couldn't pinpoint it. I had to think...
I grew up with a family that was very faithful. We're talking Mass every Sunday, my parents were really involved at the Church and I had always known who God was and that I was His daughter. I knew that Jesus was the King and He should be number one in my life. (Look at CCC 2685, the Church states that the first place a person learns about prayer and God in general is in the family. Family is the domestic church, by virtue of the sacrament of Marriage.) As I talked it out more, I told BFFK that when I was a young teen, I used to sit up and read the Bible at night. Call me a dork, but that's what I did. I just wanted to hear what God had to say. Through that, I heard stories of times when God spoke to people. I learned what happened when He chose to speak to people like Moses, Abraham, Ezekial, Tobit, Mary, Paul, etc. I read what His voice sounded like, the peace that it brought, the doubt that a human had when hearing it because they were afraid (Fear of the Lord), the love that ensued, etc. I saw how His voice transformed people and I knew that once God spoke to somebody, things would never be the same. From an early age, I learned the characteristics about God's voice, so that when I did hear Him, I already knew the voice in a way. It was familiar. It was home.
I'm nobody special. I try to love and listen to God. Sometimes I hear Him. He's always there, though. He's there in the way I hear Him and he's there nudging my seminarian friend on the shoulder. He's there with BFFK's husband when he hears the voice of God through other people. He meets us where we're at and I believe God spoke to me when He knew I was ready to hear Him and that I would recognize His voice...like His little sheep. He's my shepherd and I know His voice. Sometimes, when I'm out in the field and wandering, he hollers and I come running. Other times, he knows I'm within the fence and He can see me and let's me sniff around and eat some grass (I just took that analogy really far).
Even when I'm sick and stuck on the couch, listening to the rain gently hit the window pane, I know He's got me. Okay, so I WANT TO KNOW completely that He's got me...but it's a growing process. Trusting in His voice...not just hearing it. Maybe that's what you need to do today. Get to know the voice of God, the voice that speaks something into the nothingness. Read His Word and get to know the people who He has spoken to in Scripture.
How do you hear God?...feel free to comment and respond.