Every so often I like to refresh the part of my vocabulary that includes archaic expressions. “Heed” is one of those terms, a *noun or verb that means something like paying attention—perhaps at a slightly deeper level. Making sense out of everything my senses are taking in. Perhaps even doing something about what deserves that kind of attention.
Some days it feels to me like there’s too much to heed: ugly news, troubling circumstances, horrific events or tribulations yet-to-come. I sometimes get tired of heeding—all that’s happening can weary my usually sturdy old soul. I certainly don’t want to succumb to that attitude—the kind of falling down or falling apart that can discombobulate my ability to act with hopeful courage. There has to be another side to heeding.
What occurred to me a couple of days ago—while considering nearly overwhelming world events—was that I could pay attention to small exultations that can come from the flurries of blessings that also come my way. This variety of micro-heedings might mitigate the despair that tempts me regularly.
These examples came to mind: The kindness of people featured in “Making a Difference” segments on NBC Nightly News; just-sown flower and vegetable seeds gathering power in the warm soil; the assuring presence of beloved others; the recess laughter of children at our neighborhood school; leisurely conversation; wise writing in newspaper or journal columns; Spring air brimming with the scents of nature’s fullness. (You probably have your own list, right?)
Part of growing older may include increased opportunities and reasons for heeding. If that’s true, I want my attention to range widely—and wildly—so that it includes all that God is also attending to!
Nothing archaic about that, hmmm?
*This is one of those rare words that does NOT have Greek or Latin roots—it harks back to Germanic, Dutch, Frisian and Old English origins. I really like the use of this term in I Corinthians 10:12, using the 17th century vocabulary of King James of England: “Wherefore let him that standeth take heed lest he fall.”
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