Listening tuneup?

(10.01.21– Works of the Heart – Proverbs 18: 2)

My friend, may I ask you a question? If you find yourself thinking about other things while you listen to a person speak or are tempted to listen for a few key facts while overlooking the ideas, do you have a listening problem?

My friend, Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.

I'm M. Clifford Brunner.

Listening with our ears doesn't always equate with listening with the heart. Let me give you an example. Years ago when my son Dan was a little tot showed me his finger that he had lacerated earlier in the day as he was pulling on a steel cable and a metal sliver had sliced through his fingertip. He was looking for a little sympathy and he wanted to tell me the story; I took the opportunity to lecture him on the care of nasty metal wounds. As I lectured Dan’s eyes began to become distant but I paid this little notice. Finally he turned away fixing his gaze upon something distant, out the window. Undoubtedly, I thought, he was better educated and my lecture had hit home.

The fact is, I learned little of his experience with the cable and almost nothing about the nature of the pain he had suffered from the wound. I had used his conversation starter as a cue to start opening the data storehouse that I keep stocked within the recesses of my brain. As he spoke my thoughts raced at record speed away from his words and deep within the portion of my own self-focused thought process. None of this was clear to me until I felt a tap on my shoulder. Holly was putting on the brakes. She had listened intently to what I had to say about the dangers of infection. “So what!” She said as she grabbed my attention. Then I looked around to see several sets of eyes focused on our little conversation. “Great kids–good listeners!” I thought. Then it struck me. Why had I started down that road in the first place? Dan’s wound had become so secondary to my dissertation on infection.

I wasn’t listening to Dan. I had exercised my lips but not my ears. There’s an old saying that God gave us one mouth to speak and two ears to list