Have you ever thought how important listening is? And I don’t mean the everyday cursory type of listening we often do…I mean true, heavy-duty listening–when nothing else interferes with the attention you are paying to what someone else is saying.
I was reminded this week what a significant ministry listening can be. And it doesn’t require any degree or special training…it just requires a willingness to be present.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been struggling with some work-related situations, situations that have raised some major concerns. I’ve seen gaps between what was said and the actions that followed…I’ve seen holes that aren’t being filled…I’ve had concerns about a body of knowledge being lost….I’ve raised those issues with a number of people I thought could (and should) make some differences. Sometimes I just wanted them to listen.
But I didn’t feel like I was being heard. It seemed as though the words just fell into a void. There’s a song from the musical 1776 that says “Is anybody there? Is anybody listening?” That’s what it felt like.
This week, though, I had an opportunity to visit with someone who has more authority/responsibility. And she listened! She closed her door and put her phone on “send calls.” She didn’t tell me “You shouldn’t feel that way”…she acknowledged my feelings, even though she probably has a different perspective. She leaned forward, her body language telling me that she was truly listening.
I spent about an hour with her. And when I left, I realized how much she had blessed me. The circumstances hadn’t changed–and even though she said she would do what she could to help bring about some changes, that may not happen. But I can deal with that now.
Why? She listened.