As I continue on the journey of life, I find myself reminded about the little things in life, something I have not done much in past years.

STOP! The phrase, stop and smell the roses comes to mind, now it’s daffodils or tulips.  But the idea is to slow down, being aware, enjoy and experience things around us.  When we were teaching our children how to cross the road the phrase we used was stop-look-listen before crossing.

Our awareness to STOP can take on many activities in life.  Some synonyms for STOP are halt, rest, discontinue and prevent. So in your life, what would you like to STOP?  STOP criticizing, STOP arguing, STOP judging, STOP sitting on your IPhone, Ipad or computer 24/7, STOP the busyness of your day (at least for a few minutes), STOP and evaluate our goals and dreams in life. STOP and reflect on the scriptures, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister”. Romans 14:13

LOOK takes on the challenge of not only seeing with our eyes but what we see or find in our hearts. St. Francis in his life journey, LOOK beyond the appearance of a person.  He found Christ in the lepers and the poor. When we take the time to LOOK we find the goodness of people beyond their appearance, traits, personality, mannerisms, qualities, and we LOOK to find their characteristics, what makes them tick. When we take the time to LOOK we could find Christ building our relationships with Christ and one another.

LISTEN “to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being said, sung or played.”  This is one area of my life that I am continually challenged.  Listening is a gift that needs awareness and effort. Many times I hear You heard but did you listen. It takes great effort to just listen, eye contact and being present to the person or persons who are speaking and not being distracted.  Steve Covey’s quote, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply”.  How many of us are already thinking of the response before the person is finished talking?

The challenge as a Christian listening, “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19. It’s simple enough in principle, and nearly impossible to live. Too often we are slow to hear, quick to speak, and quick to anger.

Many of us are part of the sandwich generation and taking care of elderly parents is a challenge and a gift. We also want to spend time with our children and grandchildren’s lives.  Truly listening takes patience, even when an elderly person repeats and asks the same questions five times within an hour. But the greatest gift we give them in our presence, hugs and listening.

The word LISTEN contains the same letters as the word SILENT.  Remember the old song that goes “Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart”, that is what Christ asked of us as we journey through life.

Reflection thoughts:

  • What does STOP mean to me?
  • Can I LOOK for one thing each day that I recognize and engage in?
  • What does truly being silent when we LISTEN to another mean to me?