Ft. Pulaski; GA
“..Lord, grant that I may not so much seek to be understand as to understand..” - St. Francis
“An appreciative listener is always stimulating.” - Agatha Christie
We all have a place we have come from and places we hope to go. We all want to be able to express our story – sometimes for no other reason than that hearing ourselves talk helps us sort through our thoughts. But it is a rare occasion that we find someone willing to patiently listen – to be understanding and non-judgmental. And when we do find such a person, we remember them for a long time after. We feel we “know” them – even though we did the majority of the talking.
Listening well is not something we come by naturally – the skill requires practice and development. But the advantages are many. First, we already know everything we know, and we learn nothing new when we have our mouths going. And once we have matured spiritually far enough to realize that we cannot directly see ourselves, we find that we can see mirrors of our self in others. Granted, this isn't always comfortable because the flaws we spot most readily in others are the flaws that we work the hardest to avoid acknowledging in ourselves. But unless we force ourselves to become aware of them we will never be able to engage in corrective action.
When we seek to understand others we are performing a spiritual service. As with any other spiritual service, we receive what we give. By seeking to understand, we are the ones who gain understanding – and we gain it in two ways. Our own ability to discern improves, so our own understanding of both life and ourselves is enhanced. But further, the party we listen patiently to appreciates the opportunity we gave them, and they come to understand and appreciate our willingness and effort. Whose story can we listen to and appreciate today? Someone close to us has something to teach us – will we learn the lesson when the opportunity is there?
Today, may I listen.
Happy Wednesday !!