Friday, October 17, 2008



Recently I was in my wife Janet's office when I heard a train pass.
WooWoo !! I love trains. My Dad worked for the Southern Railroad for
over 40 years and his dad, Pop Phillips, worked for the same railroad
for 37 years.

At Pop Phillips funeral, during the sermon, a train passed and whistled.
We all laughed and said the train was carrying him to his new
destination. So, you see, when the train whistled lots of memories came
to the forefront.

"Did you hear the train," I asked Janet. "Yes," she said. Then
she said, "Sometimes you can hear the monkeys."  "What?"  She
laughed. The zoo backs up to our office area and sometimes you can hear
the monkeys.

The monkeys suddenly began swirling in my head. I began to remember the
importance of hearing, of listening to what surrounds us. I thought
first of Rev. George Cox, a chaplain at a hospital in Alabama, who
taught me how "to listen between the words." He had the gift of
hearing ones heart and where one hurt and I thought of what a gift
listening is. What do we really hear?

A few weeks ago, at an outlet mall near Locust Grove, Georgia, I picked
up a book by Warren  Wiersbe, at a used book outlet. Dr. Wiersbe was a
former pastor at Moody Bible Church in Chicago and is a brilliant
biblical scholar. Last night as I was thumbing through this book I found
these words:

"The best way to help discouraged and hurting people is to listen with
your heart and not just with your ears. It's not what they say but why
they say it that is important. Let them know that you understand their
pain by reflecting back to them in different words just what they say to
you. Don't argue or try to convince them with logical reasoning. There
will be a time for that later; meanwhile, patiently accept their
feelings – even their bitter words against God – and build bridges,
not walls.

There is a true consolation in our faith, but it is not dispensed in
convenient doses like cough medicine. "It can only be shared by those
who know what it is like to be so far down in the pit that they feel as
though God has abandoned them. If you want to be a true comforter, there
is a price to pay, and not everybody is willing to pay it.

John Henry Jowett said, "God does not comfort us to make us
comfortable, but to make us comforters." God's comfort is never
given; it is always loaned. God expects us to share with others.


P.S. We all go to the zoo in a couple of weeks. When you hear the
monkeys tell this story.

Brother Dan and Thanks Janet


At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

YES...TO HEAR WITH THE HEART. I have a great spiritual friend and adviser. He has this gift: to hear what the heart is saying...even when it is confused and hurting. I owe much gratitude to him for the lunches we shared and the insights he spoke were of such great value. can hear even the monkeys!

At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Trains in the Night.....Years ago, I was talking to a Franciscan monk and he mentioned that the sound of a train off in the night made him think of a poor wandering soul trying to find its way to God. It prompted him to pray for anyone who was wandering and searching.

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Build Bridges, Not Walls......What a fine expression. We are intended to live in community...too bad, we are so separated. Talking with an alco
holic this afternoon, we talked about this 'apartness' that wounds us all. God meant us to be as families, as friends, as neighbors. Aloneness is a tool of satan.

At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LISTENING WELL.............My very best friend, JM, was a Deacon in the Church. A very special part of his ministry was to visit prisoners. He truly loved the potential in each of them. He had a special gift of being able to help people face the reality of their situation and the aspiring to a better way for them. He stressed the goodness in them and built upon that. The finest tribute came from a man who stood before his coffin and said of Jack: 'That man changed my life.'

At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

REALLY EMBARRASSED......Years ago...we were at the local zoo. In one cage of monkeys, there was a real 'show off.' He was so proud of his ability to swing from branch to branch in greatest of ease. He was so proud to show us his skills. Then, the awful happened...he missed a branch and fell...only about two feet so he was not hurt BUT he was really embarrased. You could read the shame all over him. About 20 people had been watching and praising his ability. Now they were there laughing. Lesson? Maybe don't show off so will save you when you goof up! And blessed are the meek and humble...

At 7:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Hear is to Love......We forget sometimes to just be good listeners. I find myself wanting to share my story and not really pondering the other story before me. I think of how well Christ must have Peter and the the woman who wept at at the woman at the Mary, His mother and to Joseph, His foster father. And, of course, how He listened to the Father and the Spirit! Grant my prayer, O Lord: to hear more lovingly! db

At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SURELY HE HEARD.............................I spoke to him and told him of my difficulty and then he replied to me and said what I had said only adding the deeper sorrow and significance of my words.

At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gift of Listening......When we listen well, we are saying to another person: You are a person worth listening have good things to have good and bad points like everyone only you are working on being a better are are are made by God and He doesn't make junk!


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