Finally, a moment of peace! There are days where I feel that every living moment is taken up with the sound of talk. Talk, talk, talk. I hear it all around me. Words fired back and forth, questions asked, decisions challenged, hopes and dreams expressed, thoughts laid bare. With six of us in 850 square feet, there is only so much sound space available for the taking. And with five other people needing to use me as a human sounding board, I feel bombarded with the noise of it all.
Until entering this season of parenting, I never knew how much lip-flapping it would take to train up a child. Now that I have two adult children living at home and two teenagers, I am amazed at the amount of conversation it takes to steer this ship called life. It was certainly Divine foreknowledge and no stretch of the imagination when God told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:5-7,
“You shall love The Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
It seems obvious now that God was giving the Israelites both instruction as well as fair warning. This is no small task. It requires a 110% effort. It is all-consuming, and it will permeate everything you do.
Talk. When you’re working. When you’re playing. When you’re snuggling. When you’e bringing discipline and training. When you’re observing the world around you. When you’re hurting. When you’re rejoicing. When you’re lost and confused. When life doesn’t make sense. When you have those glorious moments of triumph. Talk.
And all of this talk, it has a purpose. It’s training. Heart, soul and mind training. Spirit training. Teach diligently. The concept of teaching diligently here is the Hebrew word shanan, which means “to sharpen, to whet, to prick”. When a blacksmith sharpens a sword, he doesn’t use one mighty pass across the whetstone and call it good. No, it’s back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, edging the blade for battle. Making it ready to be useful. A constant flow of conversation. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
And sometimes the back and forth, it’s enough to drive me CRAZY.
Heart-baring sessions at 11:30 at night, coming right at the end of a day of intensity and non-stop activity. Intervention in a sibling crisis, AGAIN. Shining the light of truth into a heart’s darkened corners, gently correcting and setting straight the path, knowing that it will probably be received with THAT LOOK. Yep, that’s shanan. And that’s my calling. To shirk it would be, well, shirking. And I’m no shirker. Nope, not me. I’m a warrior princess, called to fight this fight in my jammies at 11:30pm, just as I’m reaching to turn out the light…
[Special thanks to Rick Delanty who has granted permission to use his beautiful art in this post.]