Are you listening? Or are you preparing your thoughtful response? Are you waiting for your turn to download your thoughts? What kind of question is “are you listening”?
Listening is quietly hearing the words of the other. Listening is looking him or her in the eye, waiting and anticipating his or her feelings and thoughts as if they are rubies and diamonds. You put aside your own pearls, confident that you will get to share. Listening is learning about another beloved child of God. Listening is making room in your mind and heart for one to rest his or her burdens or joys for a moment. You appreciate the other.
Listening is an agonizing skill. You must give up being first to speak. You must develop enough confidence to believe that there will be room for your thoughts too, but not right now. You must be willing to hear what the other has to say, even if it is painful and truthful because there is a possibility you will learn something new. You will learn something new about the other and yourself.
Listening opens us to the possibilities of the Kingdom of Heaven. Ancient people would listen to prophets and be saved. They would listen to prophets and hear what they never wanted to hear, painful truth. The truth will set us free, if we will listen.
So, are you listening? Are you ready to listen? Can you be quiet and look into the eyes of the beloved? Can you enjoy learning about the other, accepting him or her as a precious jewel? Are you prepared for the liberating truth? Are you listening?