It feels like a terrible sappy cliche, but children's books teach me a lot. I have this one about the creation story, makes me cry every time. Today I read a book called The Listening Walk by Paul Showers. You can have a dude with an English accent read it to you here (how story time has changed since I was a kid).
On the first few pages, the young girl narrating the story tells us how she takes slow walks with her dad and elderly dog. She is silent on these walks. They are not for talking; they are for listening. And she listens to everything. The duration of the book is a description of the sounds she hears.
It dawned on me what a great neighborhood pastor this girl and her elderly dog are: walking and listening. Being silent. Being slow. Paying attention to all that we miss so easily. Her little pilgrimage reminded me of walking a labyrinth - but not secluded in some set aside spiritual space: in her neighborhood. So, I came home, having learned from my fictitious colleague in neighborhood presence, and mapped out a labyrinth walk for my neighborhood.
I hope to invite some neighbors on a spiritual "Listening Walk" in our place with me soon and wanted to share because maybe we can all learn from this children's book?