Last evening, as I sat in our blue chair over by the window, I became more aware of something I’m not sure I’ve thought much about, before. I became aware of my own ‘awareness.’ I will tell you what I mean.
For more than 54 years, now, I’ve lived in the same house with my wife. We’ve occupied the same habitation, and when she’s in the kitchen cooking, I hear the noises that her cooking makes. As she chops vegetables, or turns on her mixer to make dough for a batch of cookies, even though she’s in the next room, and I can’t see her, I know she’s there. I do not doubt that the sounds I hear are coming from her. After all, it’s been 54 years. I’ve heard her noises in the kitchen many, many times. I know it’s her. I don’t have to get up and go look.
The evidence of her being in our home — her companionship, her presence, her cooking in the kitchen — is something I’ve experienced for a long time. I’m very much aware of our sort of ‘partnership’ in navigating the rigors of ministry, and family, and … life.
However, that’s not the kind of ‘awareness’ I became aware of, while I was sitting in our blue chair over by the windows. I became aware of my wife in a different kind of way, because she wasn’t just making noise in the kitchen. She had walked into the living room where I sat. She conversed with me, asking me something. My awareness of her became much more personal than a general knowing she was in my world. Now, she was in my vision and my immediate sphere of contact. I responded to her question in a way that I hope indicated that I was listening, and engaged, and … aware of her presence, not just in our house, or in an adjacent room. But present in my presence, my noticing.
The dictionary lists the antonyms for the word ‘awareness’ as being ‘oblivious to.’ or ‘ignorant of.’ And, ‘ignorance’ has an almost ominous implication for relationships, if I change its pronunciation just a bit. It’s one thing to be oblivious to my wife’s working in the kitchen. But if I’m ‘ignore-ant’ of her presence standing right next to me. I? If I were to ignore her presence, the damage such ignorance would visit upon our relationship would be profound.
When I attend to the conversation my wife is directing my way — when I listen in a way that lets her know I am aware she is speaking to me — I honor her in a very personal way. The more acutely I am aware of the partnership, the activity, the presence of my wife in my life, the more amazed I become at the incredible gift she represents in my life. I would do well, I think, to be more aware of my … awareness. How well am I noticing?
David, the song writer knew the importance of not being ignore-ant of God’s constant attention to his life. In Ps. 26:3, he wrote, “I am always aware of your unfailing love, and I have lived according to your truth.” It’s one thing to take note of the ‘noises’ God makes in what I might call the ‘other room’ of my life; the sunrise that always comes. I’m used to sunrises. I know God brings them. And the blessings of His provision and care. So constant that they are a daily occurrence. I think I’m aware of that.
But I would like to improve on noticing The God Who Is Always Present, the God Who Never Leaves the Room. He is omnipresent; and his promise is a steadfast truth: ‘I will never leave you; I will never forsake you.’
I wonder what kinds of conversations might happen, if I was more aware of The God Who Never Leaves the Room?