Next week at our annual staff retreat in Lepsa (see April 2008 posts for photos of this magical place), I'll be hosting a little conversation/talk about listening (where I hope to learn as much as I speak). It's a dialogue about not only listening to God, but to others. I think the two happen to be pretty well related.
And so, what is listening all about? Sometimes it feels to me like being a rusty weathered and worn out wheelbarrow, filling up on the words and emotions and thoughts of others that I carry around until I either rust out, a handle breaks, or I dump anything I'm carrying.
While I may very well be that old wheelbarrow, I know that listening is much more than this. It's carrying something very precious, holding it, processing it, until it sort of becomes part of me. And those words and thoughts and feelings of another then work to fill up the spaces of my rusted being until I find I'm healed and more whole for the listening.
It's an interesting process, too, listening to the words of another language and culture and all the emotions that are carried in the nuances of new letters and speech. I start to listen in a new way, and not always in a healthy way, because as I try so hard to sort verb from suject from pronoun, I find I lose the meaning, the deeper conversation of what a person is saying. Slowly, I find myself sliding in an avalanche of panic realizing that I don't understand what is being said. And the panic becomes about me, about my loss of control in the meaning and comprehension of words. And I lose sight of the other, of the one who is sharing, speaking, giving.
I'm beginning to wonder if it's the same way I listen to God. I don't understand, even if it looks like I'm really trying, and so I get scared and hold tightly to what I can comprehend, rather than losing my grip in the interest of everything I can't understand or see or speak.
I guess, listening to anyone, Anyone, is a little like faith. And I'm feeling more now than ever, that I need those Words of life to fill in my rusty worn out spaces, to bring healing and hope for wholeness.
I was wondering, what are your thoughts about listening? I'd love to hear them! So, please comment below as I could use the input for my discussion. And, maybe in a later post, I'll show the video of the discussion I host.
In other news...I'm up to 22 followers!! Thanks to all of you who have joined!!! Only 3 more to go and we reach a prize winner! Can't wait to see who it is!
And I'm aponderin' on what my next contest will be...