Sound Listen…

What’s your favorite sound?  Seriously!  Think about that for a second…what is your favorite sound?   I have several…

  • the congregation saying the Lord’s Prayer in unison
  • different languages being spoken in an international airport
  • my brother laughing
  • the Adhan calling the people to prayer

These sounds fill my heart until my eyes almost overflow with tears.

In January, I spent five days at KAICIID, an international center for inter-religious dialogue in Vienna, Austria, as part of their International Interfaith Fellows program.  Twenty-two religious leaders, from 14 countries, representing 5+ religious traditions gathered for five days of training and community building.  Diverse only begins to describe this beloved community,  We reflect the breathtaking beauty of creation!

© Katharina Schiffl / KAICIID

From Myanmar and Serbia, from Nigeria and Argentina, from Saudi Arabia and the United States, we learned about inter-religious dialogue as a tool for conflict transformation and peace building. had five full days of training.  Sounds pretty complex.   The reality is, we reminded ourselves to LISTEN!   We all spoke with our own thick accents – forcing us to listen carefully whenever another spoke.  We learned to listen for fact, feelings, and values.  We learned to listen to body language and other non-verbal communication.  We were inspired to LISTEN – with our hearts!


We have this opportunity every day at Emory University!  We, too, are a beloved community reflecting the breathtaking beauty of creation!  We are bombarded with opportunities to listen, to learn, and to be transformed so that we can be agents of transformation in the world.

In 2018, let’s practice our listening!  Listen for your favorite sound! Discover sounds that fill your heart until tears flow from your eyes.  Listen to the world around you!  Listen to others!.  Listen to your heart!  Listen for the voice of God!

Be still….

Take a deep breath….


I invite you to  share your favorite sounds in the comment section.  Come back and share each time you discover a new one!

Rev. Lisa Garvin
Associate Dean of the Chapel and Religious Life
Emory University, Office of Spiritual and Religious Life