“Being listened to is so much like being loved, it’s usually impossible to tell the difference.” That’s a Life Mantra for me. Probably because I grew up in a home where one person talked incessantly, and I seldom felt like my life was interesting enough to be asked questions, it’s been my lifelong habit to cultivate friends who truly want conversations to be mutual. People who like listening as much as talking. Who are as curious about me as I am about them. Intelligent people who don’t “approach every issue with a completely open … mouth.”
My favorite Executive Presbyter (they’re like bishops in the Presbyterian Church, like “a pastor to the pastors”) has a sign on her desk that says it in another way: “What these people need is a good listening to!” I not only believe it, I love it. And of course, I’ve practiced it perfectly all my life, with my family and friends. NOT! (But I strive.)
A funny but slightly condescending way of putting it is an oft-quoted phrase from someone who spends a lot of time in organizations’ meetings. “There comes a point where everything that needs to be said has been said, but not everyone has said it.” Setting the snidie aside, that’s often true. A similar view came from Henry Miller: “Somewhere along the way one discovers that what one has to say is not nearly so important as the telling itself.” But, as my Densa friends say, “Irregardless….”
So we embark on a conversation. Whether you decide to respond to this or another blog post, or comment on The Kairos novel, or raise some other issue that’s important to you, my “talk” for today is over, and I trust yours will begin. I’m listening. (Others will be, too.) What are you thinking?