Listening, Slowing, Telling and Showing

by | Mar 23, 2015 | Life & Faith | 4 comments

Pictures, pictures everywhere. Anywhere. Any time. If you have a phone, we have a photo. Moments captured and documented, milestones shared, joys multiplied.

And while a picture often IS worth a thousand words, and they often tell a story, they don’t tell the whole story. 

The problem with the ubiquitousness (that’s a word, right?) of iPhones and Smartphones is the ease with which we grab them to capture said occasions, instead of telling our story. 

When I want to share a moment with you, all I have to do is pull out my phone–the grandkids are right there, the perfect, stunning sunset, the surprise birthday photo of a spouse–and boom! 

Without a word, every detail is there….

But not really. There is a lot lost in the translation of those pixels. 

My nephew and his wife had their first baby–a boy–on the First Day of Spring.  It was a momentous occasion—but they are far away in Texas and of course, I couldn’t be there.
My sister, the new grandma, also could not be there–she’s a teacher and still ‘on duty’ in California.
What were we to do?  Wait anxiously for pictures, that’s what.

Finally, a tag on Facebook from my daughter–there he was–new daddy kissing his wet and shiny-haired son right on top of the head.  I was in tears.
The picture quickly went around the interweb and through text messages between aunts, uncles and cousins.  Baby G was here!  

But, oh I ached for details–who did he look like? how much did he weigh?  How about those fingers and toes–who kissed them first?
And mom–how was she doing? It had been a rough go the last two weeks and we were worried for her.  I’ll bet she was relieved and exhausted.
And new Dad–nephew W.–especially proud, I’m sure and relieved after a difficult and challenging time leading up to this.

All of that was missing because I wasn’t there–no words to fill in the blanks of the feelings–tears of joy and relief, the touch of the baby’s new skin, the look of joy on the new parents’ faces at the miracle in their arms.

If I had been there to experience this newborn’s entrance into the world, I would have been paying attention–noticing, listening, watching….painting a picture with my words.

Maybe we would get better at seeing if we simply used our OWN eyes (not a camera in a phone) to record this wonderful world.
Better yet, what if, in order to really see, we take off our glasses (if we have them) and force our tired and busy eyes to relax?

Use our senses to fully experience something–pay attention, listen closely, be still enough to feel what’s happening.

I’ve been trying this more the last year because of a book I read; it has changed everything about the way I look at the world.

As often as I remember, no matter where I am, but especially outside on my deck, I tune in and listen.  

Is the wind rustling the leaves like the washing of waves on a faraway shore?

What does the breeze feel like on my skin?
I welcome the taste of the peach tea in my cup, the sweet warmth visiting my mouth with a fragrant wake up call.
I strain for the sweet sound of the birds as they praise their Creator.
I hear laughter of children, I see the clouds stacked up in the distance.

And I see and hear Jesus.  He paints a picture with His words–“I’m here. I made this. I love you.”

THAT’S what it’s like to slow and tell.  Join me?


This post is part of the #SmallWonder link up, led by Kelly Chripczuk.
Each week we choose to intentionally look for small moments of wonder, the “small sparks of presence, delight or sorrow, of true humanity” in which we see God.
You’re invited to gather and share one moment of Small Wonder from your days 
(in a brief post of 500 words or less).
And if there’s more than 500 words in what you have to say, 
you’re welcome to come as you are.


  1. You have relatives in Texas? Me, too! Another thing we have in common! Love it. Also love the idea of “slow and tell.” You make a strong case against that old saying, “A picture paints a 1000 words.” You've proven that's not always the case. These days I'm experiencing more “slow and tell” than ever, while babysitting our two-year old granddaughter. Our walks are slow, to accommodate her short steps. And there is always much to see: birds, flowers, leaves, stones, etc., etc. We tell each other about the wonder of each discovery. But your post got me to thinking: I should include in our conversations that God made all these things, pointing out to her the miracles in creation around us. Thank you, Jody, for a delightful, idea-sparking post!

  2. Kelly, sometimes if I stop looking (without my glasses) I find I can actually hear better….(not sure how I missed the link up. oops). I'll be right back. 🙂

  3. I sorta just stopped taking pictures. I just can't keep up with it. Your idea about taking glasses off is intriguing to me, as I'm very dependent on mine. I find something similar when I am at a silent retreat – in the absence of noise there's more to hear. I didn't see your link over on the page, but maybe I missed it. I'm going to have to check out this book you keep mentioning sometime soon . . .

  4. Slow and Tell… I love it! I am guilty of often being behind a camera of one kind or another, but I also am a lover of words and how how we miss out and make assumptions when we cannot take in the visual along with those details behind what we see!


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