Becoming a better listener


I’m a big talker. I suppose you could say I have the “gift of gab” what ever that is.. Those of us who talk a lot are not usually the best listeners. And, there’s that thing about having 2 ears and only one mouth…. So, I’ve set about to become a better listener.

What have I been hearing? Here is the list.

Music – I know that is strange to most of you. Almost everyone I know listens to music at least while they are in the car but not me. Until recently that is, sometimes I actually listen to music on purpose. I have often joked that I like music a lot but not enough to listen to it. I have discovered anew the beauty of music, several different kinds.

Public Radio – One the way to work I listen to the local Public Radio FM station. Yes, they still have a liberal to nutty political slant but I am listening, and to my shock, enjoying the programming. Some of the segments are very educational and interesting. I would like it better if all the men didn’t sound effeminate and the woman as if they were performing for an English Professor. And, I think the programming is actually good enough to stand on its own sans federal tax dollars.

I enjoy Click and Clack, the car guys, Prairie Home Companion (I cringe when Garrison Keillor mentions politics…) because the music is so good. I must say Garrison is a pretty good singer himself, and I enjoy the music of Louisiana they play frequently on the weekends. It’s good stuff!

My Wife – I’m trying to do better at this. It should be easy because my much-better-half is an interesting woman! When she comes home from one of her many exploits I sit with her at the kitchen table, look her in the eyes, and listen to her talk about what she has been doing. I am always amazed at how much she can get done and how many people she can recruit to help her get it done. 

I love the sound of her voice! Just hearing her in the other room gives me a level of comfort. I love hearing her signature little moan as she awakes from a midday nap. And, my wife Carol is one of the most wise persons (and most generous) I know. So listening to her is very worthwhile, in many ways.

People in the midst of grief – Last Wednesday Carol and I began our 11th year of facilitating grief groups. We had a room full of pain last week, people desperate to find answers that are not forthcoming, a brief respite from the insistent inner pain, but nothing makes it better it seems. Oh, except for talking. Each week we watch a video together and then have some discussion afterward. It was our listening to their talking that made a difference last week. Crying and talking is what soothes the grieving soul. There were tears and there was lots of talking. In those times my chief assignment as God’s representative is to be a compassionate listener.

Yes, the leaders talk some but the real help comes when the hurting soul pours out the pain in verbiage. Anger at God, the unfairness of it all, and the shear pain of a broken heart that has no cure at hand. We will listen for 12 more weeks (too much ice this week..) and out listening will make a difference in those lives. People know that if you hang in there and listen to them that you must care, and we do. 

Great Bible teachers/preachers – For a long time now in an average week I will listen to a few hours of sermons. It’s like an ongoing seminary class. There are so many wonderfully gifted people available on my Ipod or my laptop just a click away. My heart is made glad and I am fueled for the fight of faith that each day presents. I love the Word of God and after more than 50 years of studying I am still hungry for knowing more about Jesus and his grace and love.

Well, it’s time to feed my beautiful body. Carol has the good stuff ready to put where my laptop is now so this is all for this installment.

As a well-known female friend says, “Go with God”. That is a good plan!


2 comments on “Becoming a better listener

  1. Thank you for sharing, and yes Aunt Carol is a very special lady and the two of you make the perfect combination, I love your faith, and your, where the rubber meets the road perspective on many topics, you are an inspiration to me, I Love you, God Bless you

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