Saturday, September 26, 2015

Listening and Learning

Is it possible that we're entering the final quarter of the year?!

Christmas carols are playing in our office already!  I don't think I'm ready just yet.  But ready or not - here we go!  Life around these parts is moving quickly.  Once school started, we were "Game On!"

Since I haven't had time to write a special blog post, I've just included another story from the book I'm working on.  This chapter talks about the importance of being a person who listens carefully to others.  Hope you enjoy the story:

Dear friends, some of us only communicate one way. We need to be listening more than we’re speaking.

Right after college, I shared an apartment with a great young lady named Tricia.  Tricia knew the power of silence. Tricia was a gift to me that I didn’t like.

You see, I was very out going and bubbly.  I was also very bad about saying what everyone else in the circle was thinking. You know those people? Everybody is standing around, talking and suddenly there’s this hesitant pause.  Invariably, someone jumps in with, “Blah, blah, blah!”

Everyone else, embarrassed, begins looking around with a shocked expression.  A few giggle nervously.  Some cover their mouths.

The blatant one announces, “What?!  You were all thinking it but you just didn’t have the nerve to say it!"

Well that was me! Until Tricia…...

Tricia taught me that in situations like that, everyone else had enough sense to keep their mouth shut. But not me!  Oh, no! I had to just say it right out. I felt compelled to say it. What I had marked as bravery, Tricia explained was stupidity!

One day, I went to Tricia and was telling her about a plan I had. “I think it would be smart for me to……blah, blah, blah!”  (I can’t even remember the details of the plan now.)

Tricia just stood and looked at me, with this sweet smile.  Not fake, it was a sweet smile but because she didn’t say, “Uh huh!  That’s a great idea!”,  I felt compelled to help her understand the value of this wonderful plan.

Really, it wasn’t a great plan but I just wanted her to agree and help me move forward in it.  So I persisted, “And this is what I want to do.”  

Trish just kept looking at me. Which started to aggravate the daylights out of me. I mean even if you don’t agree, just say, “Ok!” and go on.

No, no, no… Trish was helping me. And I didn’t want to be helped.   

I babbled all over myself trying to convince her about my idea.  But she understood the power of silence.  She patiently listened until I talked myself out of a potentially disastrous situation.

Tricia, a lifetime friend, taught me the important lesson that listeners learn.

Scripture has a little something to say about this too.  

1Thessalonians 4:11, “And make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: you should mind your own business.” Boy that’s pretty direct isn’t it?  “Mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you.”

In another version that first part reads, "Study to be QUIET!"  (Emphasis mine.)
Some days, I have to literally lay a finger over my lips to keep myself from speaking too quickly.  But oh the things I've learned over the years by simply listening more than I talk.

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