I love listening. Lots of you already know this, because I talk about it incessantly. Not too long ago, I spent an afternoon in the Chicago airport on my way back to Nashville, as I often do. The friendly skycap who helped me navigate all the way from one end of O’Hare to my gate at the opposite end, was a young guy from India who had lived in the States for a year. His English was fabulous, but his accent…wow. It was beautiful. I love the color and tone of the Indian accent. Full disclosure: when I call customer support and get the person from India, I’m pretty stoked.
I also adore British accents, and as luck would have it, a family from England sat right in front of me on the plane. (Just read this conversation aloud with a posh English accent, and see if it doesn’t make you smile.)
“Are you following instructions properly?” The dad asked one of his sons.
“I’ve never known him to follow instructions properly in all my life,” said another son.
“Enough of that now. Sit down and shush,” said the mom.
Isn’t that great?
Accents help me picture the beautiful diversity of our world. The timbre, color, and cadence that characterize each language makes my imagination run wild with pictures of the country, the culture, and the customs.
I feel similarly about music. As I listen to the tone and color of an artist’s voice as he or she communicates the lyrics, I wonder what they were thinking as they wrote and sang the song. I know it’s the desired effect, but I always imagine you can hear someone’s heart in what they sing and how they sound. Just like conversation.
I’ve recently been asking people, through social media and my email list, to share a bit about their hearts and lives by answering a few questions with their own words. I’ve been moved to tears as I’ve read about people’s dreams, great and small. Some want to be artists and writers. Some simply long for peace in their family, or rest from anxiety or an addiction. As I listened to what you shared through your words, the world felt immediately smaller. I prayed for each one of you as I read.
As an artist and writer, I often feel like I’m using a big megaphone to speak to the world, wondering who, if anyone, is actually listening. I share my heart with you on every album, but I rarely get to hear yours. Now I finally know who many of you are, what journeys you’re on, and how I can encourage you more. Thank you so much for your willingness to open your hearts and share a bit of your story with me.
I encourage you to take some time this week to do a little listening too, and see if you don’t love it as much as I do. Maybe it’s as simple as actually listening to the person with whom you’re having a conversation. Maybe it’s enjoying an artist’s heart by listening to an entire album instead of skipping around like I always do. (I blame that entirely on Spotify.) If you take a minute to listen this week, I’d love to know what you hear. Or if you’ve got listening tips for the rest of us, please do share.
And last but not least, if you’d like to answer those questions and share your thoughts with me, click this LINK.