I would like to tell you that every relationship in my life gets off to a good start. Recently experiences remind me that many of the enduring relationships in my life started rocky and have continued with their fair share of ups and downs. As I begin to recognize patterns in the way relationships begin, there is one that I can see at the moment that I usually miss. In beginnings, on either or both sides, there are presumptions to what the other is saying and is looking for.
It is a pattern that goes back across wisdom stories for generations. Each repeats the pattern, almost as if we willfully ignore the lessons Life leaves with us. One author put it this way; “Doing something for you, bringing something to you – that’s not what you’re after. Being religious, acting pious – that’s not what you’re asking for. You’ve opened my ears so I can listen.” (Psalm 40.6)
The tension between acting on our assumptions and biases and simply listening often overwhelms me and drives me to act first, think later! I keep reminding myself to listen first, ask questions second, and act only when necessary.
Assumptions are hard to deconstruct once we have acted on them. It is as if our action turns an assumption into truth. With each step, a pattern emerges. Patterns once establish have a momentum in and of themselves.
As I think of recent bumps, I realize that each is an opportunity. For me, keys to letting life’s experiences teach me rests in the reminders I find myself repeating.
Listen openly and deeply. If one wants to understand and see, listening is key.
Let what is emerge before trying to change it. History reminds me that I like acting prematurely. Life keeps saying that the best comes with a pause.
Live fully in the moment at hand. Never as easy as it sounds, being fully and completely in the present is a doorway into maximum living.
Individuals who actively model teaching and learning surround me. To each, “Thank-you, I hear you.”