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January 16, 2017 | JOHN RAY


For years I have suffered from tinnitus, which is a constant ringing in the ear.

It started in my mid-twenties and over the years has been accompanied

by an increasing hearing loss that has left me about 90 percent deaf in my left ear

(as anyone who has ever tried to get my attention from the left can attest to).

And as people with a chronic condition know, you develop ways to compensate.

I’ve learned how to position myself at a table, try and read lips and avoid situations with lots of background noise to be better able to listen.


But recently I’ve noticed the ringing in my right ear. It’s daunting to think of what this might mean. I love music and all kinds of sound. I love conversation, and most of what I do involves talking with people. The thought of all that being compromised, possibly eliminated, is overwhelming.


It scares me to think of hearing only the ringing in my head and nothing else. But I’m also trying to allow it to teach me, to make friends with the constant sound, trying to use it help me hear God when the only sound around is the ringing

in my ears.


Now, before you start to feel sorry for me, let me ask you this: What is the ringing in your ears? What constant distractions fill your head and drown out the sounds and voices of those around you? They may not be physiological in origin, but I’ll bet they are there. Along with the ringing, I have much of that noise in my own head as well.


This week, let’s pay attention to what we are hearing and what is being drowned out.


Watch the following video and consider these questions:

  1. How do you typically experience “moments of silence”?

  2. What is frightening for you about silence and the inward-looking which silence makes possible?

  3. What has helped you to sit in silence with God?

  4. What gifts have you experienced in times of silence?

  5. What might be the relationship between silence and intimacy with God and self?























After that, read chapter 6 and Interlude in The Attentive Life. Practice the “Be still and know that I am God” prayer.

(This is something you can do with your kids as well, but make sure you do it on your own first.)


In our last gathering we talked about having a local retreat and possibly bringing in Greg Russinger from Portland to lead us. Take a look at your calendars and respond on Facebook with which of the following dates would work for you to participate: March 3-5, March 10-12, or March 31-April 2.  


Grace and peace, y’all,




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