Listening. It’s a lost art. Our minds and ears are assaulted from the minute we wake up until we go to sleep (and sometimes even while we are asleep) with sound. We wake to music on our alarms, or in our heads as I do, we watch the morning news, listen to the radio in the car on the way to work, deal with noise at work all day, more radio or iPod in the car on the way home, kids, dogs, spouses, phones ringing, television, and sometimes we even go to sleep to the sound of the TV or radio.
We hear noise every waking moment, but when do we listen? Where is the silence in our lives? I remind my piano students all the time that the rests are as valuable as the notes in their music. Literally and otherwise. The rests in music are like the punctuation in our speech, giving room for pauses and breaks; Emphasis. Expression!
This past Spring, I used the following acronym for the word LISTEN when engaged in conversation…
L… Let the other person finish, Look at them
I… Invest time, Invite conversation
S… Speak the truth, Sit forward
T… Think before speaking, Try to understand
E… Engage brain, Ears open?
N… Never assume you know what they’re going to say, Notice!
I love the thought that God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we talk. Listen to others, to ourselves, and to what the Holy Spirit has to say to us. Only when we are quiet, can we hear what someone else has to say. Only when we still our active, busy lives can we listen to our true selves. It is only in our silence that we can hear the true heart of God.
My favorite place to get still and listen is in my front porch swing. Where’s yours?