It’s spring (finally!) though it’s been feeling more like late March than early May. But I’m starting to see neighbors out in their yards, planting gardens, playing with dogs, and hanging up laundry. That means it’s time to think about our tone of voice–and our volume. Let’s revisit this entry from May 2007. For the record, I can still use a lot of work in this department.
It’s that “open the windows wide” time of year in my part of the country. And when the windows are open you hear everything that you’ve been insulated from all winter long: the traffic on the main road a couple of blocks away, the freight train 2 miles to the west, music from the passing cars with their windows open, plenty of birdsong, and the neighbors’ loud party after midnight on a Friday night.
Another neighbor and I were commiserating over that party, since we were both woken up by it, and she observed that the people having the party probably didn’t realize just how loud they were, and that sound carries so well in the middle of the night with no competing noise, so that we all could hear exactly what was being said by everyone at the party.
She mentioned that it was a reminder to her that she needs to watch how she speaks when she’s outside, or even in her own home with the windows open, in case someone hears. And I know the feeling. I am much more likely to speak to a family member through clenched teeth in my own home than I am in a public place like a supermarket.
That’s certainly not something I should be proud of, however. An answer through clenched teeth is never going to be remembered for its gentleness.
But I don’t want the motivation for changing my ways to just be a need for company manners: “someone might hear.” What really struck me as I was thinking about this is that Someone will hear. God hears. In 1 Samuel, we read: “for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7) And in Matthew 6:4 Jesus mentions that the Father sees what we do in secret.
The Morning Offering is a good way to start the day. If you have little children they can learn this simple one:
Good morning, dear Jesus, this day is for you.
I offer you all that I think, say, and do. Amen.
“All that I think, say, and do…” If I’m offering all that to God, I’d better do things with a kinder spirit.