A cup of tea and a slice of ear …….Please.
I sat with the phone receiver tucked between my ear and my shoulder, my eyes fixed on the computer screen. Often I try to multi-task, you know, listening and doing two or three other things at the same time -but today I decided against it. I had decided against quite a few things today. I decided not to lose concentration, I decided to pay full attention to detail and I decided not to interrupt.
After 3 minutes of listening I was tempted to say something, not because I had to, but simply because I have the habit of interrupting and also because I have trained myself somewhat to try to take control of certain conversations in order to direct them in a certain way, the ultimate aim being for the point to be made sooner or for the real issue to be abstracted.
But today, I decided against that.
Again, not because I had all the time in the world, but because I decided to give her all the time she needed. I could sense she just needed to talk, to pour out what was bothering her, to off- load her frustrations. She was talking about things we had addressed before, things I had explained before, things we had already agreed upon, things I couldn’t change.
And so I listened.
I had at least ten things I wanted to say, ten things that seemed wise in my own eyes, ten things that were appropriate, ten things I wanted to re- explain. In order not to interrupt her I picked up a pen and began to write them down as she spoke, I didn’t want to forget them.
I like this new thing I’ve made myself do, this writing down so as not to interrupt. I’ve done it once or twice even when having a normal, ordinary, everyday conversation with a friend.
As she spoke I thought of how many times I had been on the other end of the phone and how many times I had just wanted to be heard. On those days I didn’t want the person to answer a question I hadn’t asked. In a funny way, even though I wanted their opinion, I actually didn’t. What I had wanted was an ‘ear hug’, the occasional- ‘it’s going to be okay’, that my best friend has so perfected on telling me at the end of some of our one – sided conversations, the comfort of knowing I had been heard. Sometimes, encouraging and comforting people involves saying little or nothing.
So I was quiet, I was waiting for her to ask me something , I wanted her to tell me what she wanted me to do, what she wanted to hear me say ….what she wanted……
When nothing came it dawned on me that she didn’t want anything apart from to be heard, to be listened to.
So I tore up my questions
And I lent her my ear.
James 1:19 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];