I grew up with a reputation for not listening. I am not sure the reputation has not gone away. I do know I am hearing better. I think I am catching myself more quickly as I run over other’s conversations. It is not something I wear proudly. Listening is a trait I wished others would always associate with me. Listening is more than a desire; it is a quest I hope I always carry with me.
It is scant comfort that I am not the first to ignore the wisdom of others. From teenagers to adults with ADD, people of all generations, educational backgrounds, and roles find themselves caught in a world of their imagination. It is as if nothing else matters when the opposite is actually true. Politicians are unable to listen to the constituents. Service companies refuse to listen to their customers. Even parents struggle to hear the voices of their children. Each caught in an internal web, struggling to break free, longing for the freedom that honest dialogue (listening with the intent of learning) brings.
I wonder if I really understand the pain behind the comment of those wanting to share. When the words echo in my mind, “You've never been good listeners to me. You have a history of ignoring me, a sorry track record of fickle attachments—rebels from the womb.” (Isaiah 48.8) I realize there is a great story waiting for me. I sense there is much more than I see. I find myself thirsty for what can and will come, if I give it the time.
The remedy is here, if we are willing to see and accept it.
Take time to live in the present. Yesterday is for learning, not remorse. Tomorrow will come in the fullness of time, worrying about it will not change what is will be. Only the present can touch the future.
Today is our window to bring a new mindset into reality. I can listen. I can be present. I can with God’s help and the Spirit’s guidance, be a force for good.
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