“It is only by paying attention to whom we listen, to what we listen, and to how we listen that we can grow in the art of communicating, the heart of which is not a theory or a technique, but the openness of heart that makes closeness possible.”

– Pope Francis

For weeks leading up to the end of school this year, the children and I observed a construction project on our morning commute. There was digging, clearing, and large machines, and we all had our own hopes for what would eventually emerge - perhaps a new spot to eat, or a CVS. It didn’t seem big enough, but it was going to be something.

Between summer vacation and work travel, I hadn’t passed that spot for weeks. When life finally took me past the site, I was aghast to see a giant digital billboard being erected. I let out a groan and began my rant. “You’re about 4-5 months too late,” my wife sighed in response. “How did you not hear about this?” Tricia told me the billboard construction was on all the local social media groups, and that the township had hosted several meetings to talk about it. I was befuddled. “Maybe they needed to post it on a giant, digital billboard for you to pay attention,” Tricia chuckled.

As I continued driving and imagined the eloquent and persuasive speech I wouldn’t have given if I had paid attention to the notices, I couldn’t help but think about the many times at work or at home that I get frustrated when I think people aren’t paying attention. As a leader and follower, what calls my attention? What wakes me up to the challenges or opportunities around me? How attuned am I to my settings, and do I stop to make time in the busyness of my day to listen to the prophets and messengers before I am “surprised” by the outcome? Plain and simple, am I aware and do I care? In my faith, where is our Lord putting up billboards for me that I simply drive past?

Unfortunately, the billboard in my town is here to stay. Perhaps it will be my daily reminder to pay attention. Prayers that you pay attention to whatever signs He may be sending you this week.

by Daniel Cellucci

August 21, 2023

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