I took my almost 6 year old on a date yesterday to Target. I know. I'm not winning mom of the year award for creativity and fun, but believe me this kid was excited. He loves the toy aisle, as I'm sure every child does and so a trip to Target is like a trip to Neverland. Plus it's a win for me too. There's Starbucks for my sleep deprived mind and I find that even just a short trip down the household cleaner section makes me immediately feel like I have a greater grasp on the clutter that is my house.
These times alone with him are rare these days. He's in kindergarten and he has a young brother who demands all our time and attention. I find I spend a lot of my time at home with them asking my oldest to be safer, more thoughtful or reminding him to close the bathroom door! It feels like too much conflict and at times I lose sight of who he is and what's important to him. I guess that's what happens when I don't take the time to hear him.
So we were driving to Target and he talked the entire way. I mean every second. But it was just us so I was listening intently. He told me that one day he's going to build a bullet train that has rocket boosters, and he smiles to himself as he glances out the window at a train. Then he shared about the book he's working on with daddy. A book he's illustrating all about monster trucks - one of his favorite past times. And then there's the scale model of SF he's building in his teeny tiny bedroom and I giggle with him as we discuss how we can make it fit.
His voice is talking to me.
Not his voice box. I mean his own, special, unique, one of a kind voice. The part of him that expresses his deepest self. His dreams, his interests, the things that really get him emotionally involved. His voice tells me the things that matter to him and how's he's going to live them out in the world around him. I've missed this. I've not been listening enough. Even as I write this my eyes feel wet. Soon these years will be gone and I'll have missed these moments unless I stretch out and grab them.
We need to hear people. We need to listen to their voice. It might be in the words they speak, but it could be in their writing, their dancing or their artwork. Their voice, our voice, it needs to be heard. Our voice is the bridge between our internal design and our external destiny. If we don't get it out we'll miss connecting to the world in the way God intended us to. Our voice is like the hands that reach out from our deepest self, our original design, that grab onto the world and say "I'm going to have purpose here, and this is it."
We need to make space for others to speak. Yes listening is good, but sometimes we need to intentionally seek them out. We need to create a room for people to fill with their voice. A blank canvas that they have permission to paint. We need to make efforts to hear them. We need to invite them out into a place that is safe. Where they can speak from the heart and be just who God made them to be.
I'm planning to take a few more trips to Target. If only to hear his voice.