Contemplative Life

The Lord Does Not Waste A Background

“God doesn’t waste a background.” This thought, planted by the Rev. Sam Ferguson during a study of the life of St. Paul began coming to fruition for me during my preparations for giving the general Father’s Blessing at the January 2014 Mother/Father’s Blessing held by the Falls Church Anglican.

When I started first grade, among the discoveries I made was that I was not like the other kids in an important way: I was a person who stutters. I remember being taken to a speech clinic where my parents were told not to treat me at this time “because most kids grow out of it.” I didn’t grow out of it. Rather, my stuttering got worse. My situation climaxed in the Fall of 9th grade, that terrible time when kids try to figure out who they are. I was isolated, frustrated, and very alone. The “real me” was held captive on the inside due to my inability to express myself. I was fearful and totally ashamed of the person I was. In short, I was desperate.
A couple of things happened that year: I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I found the fluency shaping program at Hollins College (1971, before it became the Hollins Communications Research Institute, HCRI, Thus began my long climb out of hell. I started the program with a 30 percent disfluency rate. There were many nights when I listened to Christian radio, I especially liked Unshackled by Pacific Garden Mission, Chicago. I would listen to the program and then cry myself to sleep. Today, the reaction I typically get when people find out is, “Really? I never would have known.”

One of my take aways from the HCRI program was to pause before speaking and allow for a comfortable full breath. Over the years this pause has become so much more. It is now a silent moment in which I wait. Sometimes my thoughts organize themselves. Sometimes, the Lord speaks. Often I leave this moment with thoughts moving in a direction different from that with which I began. I don’t feel as if I have to rush to say what I want to.

Many years ago, an observation was made about me “to not do something that required quick action because you don’t think very fast.” For so many years I took that to means that I was mentally slow. I think the intent of the person making the statement was to give me advice that I should not find work that required me to react quickly because I would be putting myself at a disadvantage.

Now, many years later, the Lord is using my HCRI-prepared moment of pause as his gift. For within this pause I often find some form of this prayer, “Come Holy Spirit, Come”. Then I have what I need, and I need nothing else.

The Lord does not waste a background.

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