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JOY IN THE JOURNEY

July 31, 2014

By Linda Beerman
" My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." James 1:19

It seems that ears are busy these days. You can notice it almost everywhere. People with various contraptions attached to their ears or even headphones completely covering them up. A listening, caring, available ear is increasingly difficult to find.

Or maybe it could be that their eyes and private thoughts are more interested in the hand held device that is taking up their time at the moment. Increasingly, it seems, that people are much more interested in what is happening on their facebook pages than the living and breathing people all around them.

Even if we find ourselves with a free ear to listen, we might also take note that it is many times connected to our mouth. When that happens, people who want to share a problem with us or come to us needing someone to just listen, get more than they asked for. Like advice, a trite remark, or even a story that is meant to "top" what they just heard. What we REALLY NEED from each other is patience, understanding and encouragement.

Of course, in the best circumstances, our ears need instead to be connected to our heart. That is the best gift we can give when someone comes to us to "unburden". Or, many times in the case of children, they just want our eyes to meet theirs and really listen to what they want to share. It usually doesn't take all that long, and we would be wise to not look at our clock or keep our nose to the grindstone when those moments occur. We will be blessed and they will feel the same.

Change can start with us.

Have a neighbor over for coffee, or stop in to see them. How long has it been? Too long for me in some cases.

Do you ever notice someone just sitting or standing by themselves next to you? Maybe in a line or a waiting room? Just acknowledging that they are there by greeting them can warm their heart and maybe start a conversation.

Stop and give that old friend a phone call to find out how they are doing. When you find them in your thoughts, do something to connect yourself.

Right in our own homes and with our families we need to practice this art of listening. It is such a refreshing time just to sit down, look at each other, and share whatever it is you are thinking, worried about, or just what is filling your day.

Children need to be taught to listen before they begin speaking. But, of course, a lot of learning is done by watching us. So we have to show by example before they can really learn from us. In our homes we must put the paper down, turn off the endless chatter of CNN, close the book, get off the phone or computer, and the list goes on. That is when we truly have set up the moments when we can focus on another person and truly "give them our listening ears".

It really does start with us. And after we have listened, then we can share our own stories. Then we can speak. Our opportunity to share will open up when we have first listened.

Proverbs 27:17 says, " A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered." Even simpler put, " He who has an ear, let him hear." Revelation 13:9

Shakespeare said, " Lend every man thy ear, but few thy voice." It's kind of ironic that both listen and silent are made of the same six letters!

lbeeerman@lismoretel.com


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