Trying to achieve something is often a course in patience. We want things now! Not tomorrow, not sometime in the future, we want things in time now measured in nanoseconds. I am not one hundred percent sure I am as demanding as the new livers of life represented by the younger generation. It seems of if we expect things to be ready, available, and waiting for our use even before we ask, realize, or even think we might need them. Yet the really special things in life take time. Love is never a full reality without time. Friendships are born with time. Relationships grow with time. Corporate success requires time, everything else may be optional. Political success is often a matter of time and probably money. I know there is many other things but time is the one element that seems to be common to everything and everybody.
Yet maybe it isn’t.
When I reflect on life, history lessons, and people I admire, I find one common element that few people spend much time reflecting on. Each for a magical, critical, and often long period of time listened to what life was telling her or him. It was as if asking the tough questions wasn’t enough; listening was required. It is as if being smart, making great choices, exhibiting strong leadership skills isn’t enough; listening is required. Those who listen well win. Those who don’t are left on the sidelines.
You can tell who does it well and who doesn’t by their actions. Hear news that you don’t like? Getting answers that don’t fit the pattern you want or expect. Follow the examples of the leaders with the blind man; their response was how we often act, at least metaphorically.
“‘You're nothing but dirt! How dare you take that tone with us!’ Then they threw him out in the street.” (John 9.34)
God, friends, and lovers are all talking to me. It is difficult to analyze yesterday. But today? Today, I am going to listen. I need to listen as if my life depends on it.
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