I’ve been accused of not listening. Actually, I’ve been convicted of the charge.
And my “not listening” is not confined to what the weatherman just said about the forecast or the announcement blared out over the plane intercom. Nor is it limited to those vital moments in a television show or football game when I really need (in theory) not to be disturbed with outside information. No, it’s been pointed out to me that my most grievous period of inattention comes in the midst of those times when I appear to be willingly engaged in conversation.
I, for one, find it ironic that this is a problem for me. After all, I teach people how to have difficult conversations. And, on most occasions, I am very successful in listening to others and conveying my interest in what they have to say.
After further thought, it dawned on me that I am most guilty of this behavior in my “everyday” conversations. I’m not arrogant about it nor selective. No, I see these times of exchange as a necessary moment to dispense MY information.
An additional irony emerges as I consider that my inattention transmits my disregard for the other even though these “everyday” people are family and friends who I dearly love.
This is a problem, I thought. And being a problem-solver by nature, I came to the notion that I should list my special “everyday” people and give my best effort to listening to every word they say. I was about 5 people down on the list, when I recognized that I “talk” to God everyday. And thus, my second clarifying statement on faith emerged:
To realize the value I place on faith, I will spend more time in prayer in order to listen to God.
More time praying with the intended result of hearing more from Him.
For a doer and a talker, this is a big step for me. Yet, I tried it just this morning. Sat down. Pulled my chair close. Breathed deeply. And heard God.
No booming voice came out of a thundercloud. No stone tablets were pushed across the table. No . . . only silence and calm. And thoughts and ideas that seem clear now — and some that will become clear some day. My God whispers. He has nothing to prove.
And when I can stop and listen for that whisper, I come to know Him. My faith can’t help but grow.
[This is one in a number of notes about my personal journey to identify and enhance my values. It's personal. It may not address where you are and may not align with your value system. You may not agree with me at all. That's all right. If I'm missing something or you've got some thoughts that would be helpful, please do. Thanks for reading.]