Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Art of Listening

Sometimes we all just need someone to listen to us.

Period.  End of post.

Just kidding. :)

Actually, there is a lot to that one sentence.  A lot more that I just learned today through two events.

First, I am watching Morning Joe and they start discussing the new cover of Newsweek that concerns technology, kids, etc.  One of the things brought up is how we are raising a whole generation of kids who don't know how to hold eye contact.  Now you are probably smiling, but think about it....look around at any small or large group of kids and they are all looking down reading or typing texts, e-mails, etc.  It got me to thinking....so much I brought it up in one of my meetings today to get other's input.  We had a fascinating discussion about it.

The second event happened after work when I went by to visit my dad and step-mother.  My father is still recuperating from his triple bypass ("triple bypass plus" as I call it...he had some extra :)).  He is doing well, but not up running to the mailbox or mowing the lawn yet.  My visit lasted three hours, and I am pretty confident that I talked the majority of the time.  We discussed everything from personal to professional to church to church camp to a crazy FB post to a friend who is sick to...on and on.  I can only imagine how selfish this sounds....but I have to be honest....I went to visit him, but I needed the visit more...much, much more.  I had no idea I had that much built up on my heart and mind.  Wow!

All of this got me to thinking....


Disclaimer...I type about 90 words a minute.  I probably talk twice as fast.  I text...a lot.  If what I am about to say sounds preachy...relax....I am preaching to ME. 

I wonder if we have forgotten how to listen to each other.  We are so busy.  So very busy.  We are running and doing and planning and doing and going and doing.  When do we ever have time to breathe....to stop and listen?  I dare say we don't.  On top of this, we do so much electronically which further limits our face time with other humans...whether it is texting or e-mailing instead of calling.  Doing our banking online, mobile, or at the ATM instead of going into the bank.  We don't pick up the phone to ask questions of company x, y or z....we e-mail them.  We don't call our family and friends to see how they are...we text them.  We make a lot of excuses like we don't want to bother them, etc., but is it more?

I don't know the answer...for me or for you.

What I do know is that I needed someone to listen to me, and by accident (or divine intervention) I got it.  It took me three hours to unload about three days of built up "stuff".  I don't know about you, but that says something to me.  Something in addition to the fact that I need my dad stuck in a recliner more often. ;)  Just kidding. :)))

I need to listen more.  I need someone to listen to me. 

I need to slow down.  I need to take a few deep breaths every now and again and simply breathe. 

I need to pick up the phone more and e-mail less.

I need to pick up the phone more and text less.

I need to visit people in person....sit down and just talk...and listen.

There is an art to listening.  I am going to give you the secret...it is turn off the phones, the laptops, the television and simply sit with someone(s) and have a conversation.  Yup...it really is that simple.


I am going to be counseling at a church camp next week with little to no cell phone coverage, and I know this is going to be shocking for most friends and family...BUT wait for it....I absolutely cannot wait.  I cannot wait!  I need to go off the grid....for myself, for the kids that are coming to the camp, and for the other counselors.  I need to BE in the moment, in all of the moments, next week. 

It just hit me...maybe today's lesson was to prep me for next week.  I am a little slow...:)

Whatever the point...I enjoyed and needed tonight so much.  I am so grateful that God always sends people into my life right when I need them.  He is so very good that way.

So...go off the grid for a few hours, a day, a weekend, a week.  Try it out.  See what you think.  I think you will be glad you did.  I will let you know how next week goes..off the grid. :)))

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

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