When my inner voice speaks, I’ve learned to listen

Sometimes I hear a small voice that tells me to do things.

Now that I read the prior sentence again, mentioning that I hear a voice makes me seem a little bonkers. Oh well.

I think the voice is probably just part of my own internal dialogue or my conscience. Sometimes I wonder if it’s God working through me. Maybe it’s all of those things. Or none of them. Whatever it is, it’s persistent.

Once the voice told me to contact an old friend on Father’s Day. His father died years ago, and I knew the loss was still painful for him. Holidays like that can add salt to the wound if someone close to you has died. My friend seemed delighted that I had contacted him out of the blue. I hope it made a tough day better for him.

The same voice urged me to give all the cash I had in my wallet—maybe $10 worth—to my wife. She said I should keep it, that she didn’t need it, but I insisted. About week later she was in a situation in which she needed every bill I gave her to pay for something, as payment was cash-only. And surely there could have been many situations in which she could have used the money, but I’m glad I was able to help her out in that one instance.

dollarBut a few months ago the small voice told me to keep a single dollar bill with me in the car, and that seemed ludicrous. What could I possibly do with a dollar? Why does it need to stay in my car? I’ve learned not to question the voice but to roll with it.

One night as I was driving home in the summer, a man was on a nearby sidewalk asking for money, which isn’t uncommon, unfortunately, in a bigger city such as Austin. He appeared to be homeless, and being homeless in the Texas summer—temperatures are regularly over 100 degrees Fahrenheit here—has to be a brutal experience. Not being homeless in the summer heat in Texas is hard enough.

And then I knew exactly what my dollar was for.

I rolled down my window and gave the man my dollar.

“God bless you!” I said.

“And may he return it to you 100-fold,” the man replied in a distinct, big voice I wasn’t expecting.

Was it God talking to me? Probably not. Or maybe?

The drive home was spent contemplating whether I had truly fulfilled some sort of cosmic, God-ordained mission by giving someone a measly dollar I had hoarded because a voice told me to so a man could possibly buy a bottle of water to help him stay hydrated in the Texas heat. Or maybe, I thought, the voice isn’t anything but a sign of a worsening mental illness I’m unaware of. I mean, it all seems a little bananas, the listening to the voice thing. But I’ve done it before, and nothing bad has ever happened from doing so.

I guess I’ll keep listening.

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