Courage To Listen

By Jeff Hines, Parishioner since 2010

Not that long ago I turned on the television and found myself watching the movie Jerry Maguire. Great movie. I’ve seen it several times, but one scene came up that really grabbed ahold of me. Dorothy, Jerry’s love interest in the movie, is trying desperately to explain her feelings about Jerry to her sister. After several failed attempts, she blurts out “I love him for the man he wants to be, and I love him for the man he almost is. I LOVE HIM!” I clicked the TV off and sat there pondering this phrase I had heard several times before but had never given a second thought. I had never really thought about myself framed by those terms. I know my family and friends love the flawed man I am, but do they see, maybe even better than I can, the man I COULD be? I wondered what that guy looks like from their perspective.

I feel like I know what the man I almost am looks like. He is a man that has gotten over that little hump in a few areas of his life that for whatever reason were holding him back from being a better father and husband. But surely that is not good enough…

I joined St Elizabeth Seton in 2010 with my wife Emily, son Ethan and daughter Keira. We have been extremely blessed to be surrounded by a faith community that welcomed us and provided us with many ways to become involved, including coaching CYO sports, Knights of Columbus, Marriage Ministry, 5k for Haiti and Religious Education. It’s also through these ministries where I’ve had the opportunity to meet and build close relationships with many other men in the parish, relationships that have helped me to see that man I almost am, and work to become him.

As I reflect back on the past 7 years at Seton, I realize that each step along my own faith journey that has helped me see that man has involved one common theme – Listening. It’s much harder than we think sometimes. And when it comes to God? It’s so much easier NOT to listen. When we hear Him asking us to do something a little uncomfortable or inconvenient, we develop that “selective hearing” and go about our day, only listening to ourselves. It’s about having an open mind and courage to listen to Him that often provides that “nudge” we men seem to need. Every major step in my faith life has been marked by the presence of faithful men who were there to listen, to encourage and support me, and in turn, inspire me to listen.

As for the man I want to be? That is someone I sometimes feel like I may never know in this life. He is a thousand positive images of love, compassion, virtue and strength. I may never be that lofty image of the man I truly want to be, but that is someone I feel like I get to know a little better each time I listen to God, and answer His call.

That is why I will be attending the COURAGOUS event on September 9th. I want to listen to what God’s message is for me that day, and I want to listen to Him through other men. I want to hear how other men have been uplifted by the words of others and how they have shown their own brand of courage to others.

The courage to listen better to God is what it’s going to take for me to not only meet firsthand the man I almost am, but take those next steps towards the man I want to become.

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