There is a time in every single one of our lives when we all realized we have learned to hear the crickets.
Crickets are messengers. Near my home, crickets are a signal that summer is ending soon, that fall is approaching. Their cheerful little chirps add to magical late summer evenings. (I read that their little song is actually a mating call… an invitation). In Asia crickets are believed to be good luck. This is why they keep them in cages as house pets. In Brazil singing crickets are believed to signal impending rain. In Barbados, a loud chirping cricket outside your house means that money is coming soon. In other countries the cricket in the house is not welcome because it is believed to be announcing death. A famous Disney Cricket was appointed by the Blue Fairy to serve as Pinicchio’s conscience.
I’ve confused you, I’m sure, but I hope to enlighten your mind and help you hear the crickets for yourself.
There are times that this world and the chaos that seems to reign, is overwhelming and it is hard to remember who we are, what we are here to do and how we get from point A to point B. Who do we trust? Where can we go? How do we keep moving forward? Can we hear the still, small voice guiding us home?
“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalms 46:10
I heard this story once: an old Native American Indian went to New York City to visit. While walking down a busy street with his friend, he suddenly stopped.
“I hear a cricket.”
“You are crazy! There is no way you can hear a cricket with all this noise! There are thousands of people, cars honking, taxi’s squealing, jack hammers hammering. I don’t believe you can hear a little cricket in all this chaos.”
“No! I hear a cricket… I am sure of it.”
Listening carefully, the old man walked slowly across the street to a large planter box full of shrubs. He dug beneath the leaves and sure enough… there was a cricket.
“You have amazing hearing!”
“No. My ears are no different than your ears. It simply depends on what you’re listening for.”
He pulled a few coins from his pocket and dropped them on the sidewalk. Every person stopped and turned.
“See what I mean? It all depends on what you are listening for.”
I am telling you… the reason we can’t hear the Savior, the reason we can’t find the path, is because we are not listening. We are focused on the sounds of the world rather than the sounds of heaven.
“Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in my hands; be still and know that I am God.” D&C 101:16
I often fill my “quiet time”… with music, a show, kids, my own words… you name it. I wouldn’t be surprised if on some days, the Father turned to the Son, and says, “how are we going to get a word in with this one?”
Rather that listening to what God wants, I often find myself telling God what I think is a good solution. To-do lists constantly run in my head. Peace and quiet is rare.
Silence and stillness is something I am working on. I need practice. It is okay to be silent. It is good to rest my heart. God wants to share true rest – His rest – with His children.
We must learn the Spirit of God – learn to hear and to follow the promptings of the Spirit.
The trick is training and practice – as with all go skills. I must slow down my 100 mph life, park and spend some alone time with the Lord. In silence and stillness I can sense God’s guidance and direction.
I will not be perfect at hearing “the crickets” the first time I try. I just need to KEEP trying. I practice as I read the scriptures and the words of the prophets. I practice as I look for the good in the chaos around me. I practice as I pray with an earnest heart. I practice when I get outside my own issues and serve others.
My first step is intention… seeking to listen, to hear. This includes making and taking time to practice listening. It means turning off the electronics and focusing. It means stopping the multitasking and leaving the distractions behind.
Next step… acknowledging God and His love for me, His all knowing wisdom and His endless power.
Next step… listen.
After spending silent time with myself and with God I need to practice what I learned. This starts by getting out a piece of paper, the computer keyboard, or even a great doodle, and recording what impressions came to me. Then faith kicks in. It is time to jump up and do… do what was learned.
President Boyd K. Packer taught that, “The Spirit is a still, small voice – a voice that is felt rather than heard. It is a spiritual voice that comes into the mind as a thought put into your heart…. inspiration comes more easily in peaceful settings: such words as quiet, still, peaceable, Comforter abound in the scriptures.”
Learning to “hear” is a gradual process. As we keep the commandments of God we will “receive grace for grace” (John 1:16) and “line upon line, precept upon precept” (2 Nephi 28:30).
Do you hear the crickets?
This question brings me to a song… a song from a musical that has taught me much about my Father’s interactions with His children. (I change a word here and there to make my point).
“Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the songs of [faithful] men?
It is the music of people
Who will not be slaves again!”
As we sing the Song of Redeeming Love we too are singing the song of people who are no longer slave to temptation, sin, sadness, and disappointment. God’s song is all about His love.
“When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!”
As we align our will with the will of the Father, as our hearts begin to beat with His heart, we see all that He has to offer, all that He is… we see joy in the morning.
“Will you join in the crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?”
YES! Just as Father Lehi, who turned and looked for his family and loved ones after he had tasted the indescribably sweet fruit of God’s love, I too, want to share what I have come to know. I want everyone to hear! I want everyone to hear the music. I want everyone to hear the crickets!
I hear them sing… I hear Him sing. His invitation is clear. His warnings protects. His voice calls and guides.
I heard the crickets.