Last night I sat with a group of women who talked about listening. They admitted to their desire to give advice because they "knew" they had the right answers to another's problems. But, they knew giving advice wasn't helpful. So, they spoke about refraining from giving advice, and just listening. They had discovered that listening brought them closer to loved ones.
This week, I have listened to others, and have been reminded how many of us live with great difficulties. Teen agers make bad decisions. Aging parents present a whole litany of challenges. Parents with adult children find themselves still parenting, even though the nest is empty. I have listened this week to friends in much distress and grief.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the serenity prayer, seeking serenity for those things we can't control, and courage for those things we can do something about. As I listened this week, that prayer returned to me. I pray for my friends to have both serenity and courage.
One thing we can control is prayer. One approach to prayer is to begin with trusting God. Say to God, "I am working hard at trusting you, God. It's not easy, but I trust your goodness for me and my family." Next, share with God all that is hard for you, all that you cannot control, but concerns you, all that gives you either pause, or worry. And, then, offer yourself. Be open to God's leading. Be willing to do what God may direct you to do. Be open to serenity and to courage.
God is loving and hears our cries. (See Psalm 18:6 for one reminder.) God will come to you. It will not be as soon as you say, 'amen,' but God is with you, and will give you guidance, serenity and courage.