More on Listening

 Yesterday was a day of sleepy exhaustion, and I reluctantly dragged my feet to start our first Life Group meeting of the year in the evening. Trying to prepare by reading the chapter for discussion felt so difficult. I repeatedly tried over two days to get through it, but I was so tired that I fell asleep every few minutes, and as a result, it took so much longer than it should have. The topic, “The Art of Spiritual Dialogue,” was a good one and connected to Brenda Ueland’s essay, “Tell Me More: On the Fine Art of Listening,” which I had read the day before, the topic of which was the importance of really listening to others. I do that poorly, I realize, and maybe everyone does in general. Sometimes it’s because it is an art, and I need to work at it deliberately, as we must do to acquire any skill. Still, underlying anxiety often causes me to fill conversational space too quickly instead of drawing out the other or others around me. I can see this so easily when someone else does it, and then I want to shout, “Stop talking and listen!” at the talker, mainly when the person they’re talking to is younger and more apt to simply defer. Then, I see the dynamic at work so clearly. But I am that person—all the time. Oh, may this be the year to study, practice, and grow in that area—learn everything I can and change.


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