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The wonderful early morning weather we have recently enjoyed has prompted me to share a favorite column from June 2014.

Surrounded by the pitch-black night that descends in the hour before dawn, I try to still my body except for the slow, rhythmic movement of my diaphragm. This, without a doubt, is my favorite time of the day, especially during these months when I can sit outside. This morning there is a nice breeze, surprisingly cool.

This is where I’m learning how to listen. It occurs to me that this is one of life’s most essential skills, and yet I ponder the fact that I’ve never been very good at it. I have lots of excuses: the incessant sounds of the city, the voices of those I want to please, the always familiar sounds of the daily grind. And yet, in this momentary mood of confession, I know that it has been primarily the sound of my own thoughts that are most responsible for drowning out the sounds of God

This morning, for some strange reason, I do not hear the song of the robin that is always somewhere in the yard, nor the familiar hooting of the owl that resides down the alley. But there are other songbirds, perhaps fifty yards away, and there is the whispering of the wind. I marvel at the rich and complex beauty of these familiar and mostly ignored sounds, and something on the inside winces at the recognition that most of my life has been spent coarsely, ears bent toward the sounds and sirens that beg for our attention, but degrade our capacity to hear the more subtle harmonies of creation.

This morning routine, adopted late in life, has become as essential as the stretching and cycling that will follow. I’m not very good at it, a rank amateur standing at the throne of beauty. But every now and then I can feel my soul being stretched. I can hear the music of God.

Rev. Don Underwood