Coco Calling: No. 25 - The Art Of Listening
The random thoughts of a Christian parrot
One of the special things about parrots is our ability to mimic sounds and human speech. We are very good listeners, and then we like to copy what we hear. When he was growing up, my friend Einstein (the African Grey) liked to imitate the sirens of all the police cars and fire engines that would race past the pet shop where he lived. (That’s probably why no one bought him for ages!)
Photography: The Pet Shop Ripon
Meanwhile, I’ve always specialized in the sounds I hear around the house. I can do a brilliant two-tone telephone ring, and cause the humans in the house to come rushing to the phone. Or I can do a very good dog whistle, and make our two Labradors charge in from the garden in the hope of a treat or a walk. But my real party piece occurred some years ago. Early one Sunday morning, I flew upstairs into the bedroom where my owner’s wife was still asleep. I crept quietly onto her pillow, and then unleashed the sound of the screaming alarm clock right inside her ear! That one really did get quite a result!
You see, despite trying to be a “Christian Parrot”, I can still have my wicked moments, like we all can. And what I really should be doing is listening to, and copying the things in life that really matter, rather than the sounds and noises that amuse me. Things like good pieces of advice. And listening properly to my friends and family so as to avoid misunderstandings or conflict. And above all, we should all listen to the words of Jesus in the Bible. Because nothing Jesus ever said or did was wasted. His original words carry a depth and wisdom that have defied the passing of time. And they remain as relevant to us all today as they were 2000 years ago. Jesus always wanted people to listen to Him. In Luke chapter 10, verses 38-42, we hear about the story of the two sisters, Martha and Mary. Jesus visits their house. Martha is anxious to be a good hostess, so spends much of her time working out in the kitchen preparing food and refreshments. But Mary sits quietly in the adjacent room with Jesus, absorbing every word that leaves His lips. And it is Mary that is ultimately praised by Jesus, because she realized that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for her to better herself. To learn directly from Jesus about how she should be living her life, and the things she should be doing.
In a world in which so many things vie for our attention, we have to learn to be selective. To focus in on those things that really do matter. Love matters. Kindness matters. Generosity matters. And Peace matters. In fact, they all matter far more than our status in life, our power, our wealth, our possessions and our personal aspirations. All of these things call out to us on a daily basis. But which of them do we really listen to? Which do we decide to emulate? And which will ultimately prove better for us in the long-term? Love or wealth? Kindness or status? Generosity or possessions? Peace or power?
Here we have the challenge facing every one of us as we pass through life. We need to filter out the good from the bad. And we need to listen to the voice that really matters. The voice of Jesus Christ. Because ultimately, listening to Jesus and then living out a Christian existence is all that matters in this world.
And much as I’d like to learn how to do the smoke alarm, the hammer drill and the rumble of the washing machine, I’ll keep my big feet on a straight and narrow path by listening to Jesus instead!