Where I’ve Been: Listening

Well, hi there. I know it’s been awhile, and unfortunately, I have no excuse for the delay. Sure I’ve been busy, sure I’ve been pregnant (35 weeks now!), but if I’m honest none of that has anything to do with my being MIA in this space I love so well.

If I’m honest, it’s the noise that’s kept me gone.

Do you hear it?

Do you hear it, too?

The never-ending stream of online sharing, venting, liking, informing, performing, pontificating — the friending and unfriending — the insatiable news feed (of both the real and fake variety) — all the images, all the words, all the noise. I’ve been listening to so much, taking so long to process, I feel like I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath long enough to speak.

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m cut out for blogging.

Bloggers are supposed to have opinions, and they’re supposed to have them fast, and then they’re meant to share them at the speed of their fingers on a keyboard. I wasn’t built that way. When I try to be that way, I don’t like myself. And so, for example, Parkland happened. And I said nothing. Not on Facebook, not an Instagram, not here.

My husband and my mother and a select number of heart-knit girlfriends heard my heart, but other than that? Crickets.

It’s not that I had nothing to say. It’s that I heard the hurting hearts, and I realized that–just then–it was more important to listen.

Is there a place in Blogland for the listeners?

Is there a place for those with thoughts and questions but no answers? No solutions? No soapbox? (Not that I haven’t taken the occasional stand. It’s just that it usually takes me years of musing to feel that confident in my stance.)

The longer I live, the older I become, the more my soul seeks quiet. I don’t mean placidity or even that elusive unicorn of motherhood: balance. I suppose what I’m talking about is that peace “which transcends all understanding,” that “joy in all circumstances.”

I used to feel in control when I had an opinion at the ready. When my teenaged or twentysomething self could believe, even for one fervent moment, that I had “it” figured out. Whatever “it” was. But the proof as they say is in the pudding, and as time rolls on, I’ve found that so many of hills I went to die on were built on shifting sand. So I’ve grown quieter, and I’ve learned to survey the hills before I start to climb.

And so, there is still me: my particular perspective and my unique experience, my humble thoughts, my shy heart, my faith-in-progress, and my searching soul.

And there is this: the worldwide web, continually spinning wider, faster.

I like to think there is a place for me here, however small. I like to believe there is enough space and stillness in this tiny corner of the internet for my humble thoughts to find a voice, for my shy heart to unfurl. I like to think there is room for all of us who long to listen, who seek a little quiet in the fast-paced noise of modern life. I’d like to continue cultivating such a place: right here.

And if I’m gone a little while, know I haven’t forgotten you. My humble thoughts and shy heart are with you here. If you’re quiet, you’ll catch me: listening.


  1. katrina says:

    i just had this conversation with my 18 year old daughter. she was concerned about the divisiveness she is seeing in school, the hardlines drawn, and most importantly, how no one listened any longer, they just shouted over each other. i am so blessed to have raised a listener. the world needs more of us.

  2. Jen says:

    Yes, all of this.
    I think that listening on the Internet is often labelled “lurking” or being passive or not taking a stand but we all know that hearts and minds are often most profoundly changed by in-person conversations where we feel like we are truly being heard or are taking the time to really listen.
    I’ve been a “listener” of your blog for years and I’ve stuck with you even though our beliefs are very, very different because I wanted to listen to what a thoughtful parent on “the other side” had to say about topics that are really important to me. I’ll continue to listen as long as you continue to share, although I always understand when bloggers leave their online spaces.
    All that to say, you keep doing what you’re doing. Keep listening.

    • Bethany Hudson says:

      Oh, this truly warms my heart. Especially now, I really value any relationship where I can get outside my echo chamber and listen well to thoughts and hearts from “the other side.” That I might have been this for you is such an honor.

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