Okay, there are a few of us who’ve been around long enough to remember a television commercial that showed a beautiful blonde lady, – close-up shot, soft focus camera – who, in a sultry, melt-your-socks voice, says, “If you want to capture someone’s attention — whisper.” At this point, young male viewers’ shoes would burst into flame, and they would immediately go out and buy that particular perfume for their girlfriends (or their hopes for girlfriends).
Sometimes, if you want to capture someone’s attention, you just need to whisper – persuasively. Check out the story of the Prophet Elijah.
Elijah was hiding out in a cave. He had just beaten the odds-on favorite in a My-God-Is-Bigger-Than-Your-God competition. The Bible says there was an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake. There was a fire, but God wasn’t in the fire. There was a tornado, but God wasn’t in the tornado. Then there was a still, small voice. Guess who was in that small voice? Right!
Within the group of clergyman I consider my “inner circle,” there is one friend who frequently reminds me that God will speak to me in one of two ways; either he will whisper in my ear, or hit me on the head with a brick. He tells me: “You can listen for the whisper, or you can wait for the brick.” More often than not, the brick comes because I had not been listening for the whisper.
When reflecting on such advice, we all can reflect that it was probably in a gentle whisper that we first said, “I love you” to our spouses. It was in that gentile whisper that we spoke to our children when they were hurt, either physically or emotionally, to offer healing, telling them that it would be all right. It is in that gentile whisper that we say farewell to our loved ones at the time of their death. Indeed, the words of a small whisper can achieve thunderous results.
Kids can hear a lot of words from teachers, parents, priests, about living the kind of life they are expected to live. But what’s going to make the difference is when one simply whispers, “If you want to talk to me, I’m here.” Sometimes they get it and sometimes they don’t.
Fr. Bennedict Groschell, a gentle soul, who was a counselor and friend to many, including a number of our St. Nersess alumni, wrote a beautiful book entitled, Listening at Prayer. In it, he tells us that God is still speaking to mankind. In fact, God is speaking volumes to us, but we have to be quiet long enough to hear what God is saying to us in answer to our prayers.
So the deal is simple and of course, the choice, as always, is ours; we can listen for the whisper, or we can wait for the brick. Trust me, the brick hurts. It is always better to listen for the whisper.