Listening….do we really listen or are we just hearing? Sometimes, do we even hear?
Our own agendas, our own emotions, our own busy schedules…we are busy people with more to do than we can possibly ever complete. We work longer days. We work harder. We are tired and exhausted. We are glued to our devices.
We have no energy to hear someone yet alone listen.
We are missing out on stories, on blessings, on relationships…we are missing out on life.
I have worked in long term care for 15 years. If I have learned one thing, I have learned that everyone has a story to tell. Everyone wants to be heard, to know he or she matters.
Sometimes, listening means stopping. It means kneeling beside someone and making eye contact. It is pausing so that person feels like the most important thing in your life at the moment.
Working with older people with dementia has taught me to live in the moment. To make eye contact, to hold onto it, to connect. Sometimes listening involves the silence. A hand extended, offering a connection.
So often, as we are talking to others, our responses are playing in our heads. We are formulating the words to say before we even hear what the other person is trying to say. By failing to listen, we miss the story of another.
Some of my favorite words my best friend taught me…help me understand…words that invite listening, seeking to understand, to truly hear another.
No matter what we do for a living or what our family looks like, we all have the opportunity to listen to someone each day. Every day, we have the opportunity to bless another by the simple yet profound act of listening.
In my job, I listen a lot. I listen. I validate. I reassure. But mostly, I listen to stories of beautiful lives, of broken lives, of simple lives…but stories that matter, lives that matter.
The more I listen and the less I speak, the more I understand, the more I grow.
God has been speaking to me lately to speak less, listen more. He reminds me that He spoke to Samuel in a whisper in the quiet of the night.
I challenge you…Silence the noise in your own mind and be the listening ear someone needs. Truly listen. You will be amazed at the stories people will share when someone will truly listen.
The journey of life can be a lonely road. One caring soul who listens can change everything.