Do you ever have a week or two or three in which it seems like all the conversations you’re having are about the same thing?  Lately many of the conversations I am having and the blogs I am reading are about conversation, listening and community. 

My mother recently took a train trip across the country to spend a couple months in California with  my sister.  When I asked her how her trip was, she related to me that the first leg, from Michigan to Colorado was miserable because she was sitting with a woman who talked non-stop about herself for hours.  She was vulgar and crude and she gave all the details of her sordid life, not holding anything back.  She told her captive audience in excruciating detail, about the beatings she had endured from her husband, his marital infidelity, her health issues, etc.

This interested me because, in some ways, I have become a little like the above woman.  After a very painful, stressful and bewildering year, my first defence was to draw into myself and pretend that everything was ok.  Well, that lasted just so long and then all that stuff had to come out.  So the last six weeks I have spent talking about myself, blogging about myself, thinking and analyzing myself to death.

Whether we become like this woman, so desperate for someone to listen that we vomit our life story indiscriminately all over anyone nearby, or whether we go to the opposite extreme and keep everything bottled up inside . . . the world is crying out for someone to listen.

I have my heavenly Daddy who is always there to listen, whose shoulder is always available to cry on and to whose love letter I can go whenever I need courage, strength or hope.  I also have friends – close, committed, mature Christian friends – who care deeply about me and who will listen (and have listened) to me endlessly analyze myself and can set my feet back on the path when I begin to stray.

Where does the world go for community?  Who does the world have to listen but us, His hands and feet and ears?  

What if we started to listen to those around us as if their lives depended on it . . . which they may? 

What if we started listening to those around us as if it were part of our job description . . . which it is? 

What if we invited the Holy Spirit into those conversations and asked Him to give us wisdom as we listen and before we speak . . . which He will? 

What if we loved the people God places in front of us enough to let go of our own agenda and our own perceived need to be heard and listened, really listened . . . without giving advice, without passing judgement, as if we were the ears of God . . . which we are?

How could we change the world?

The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.  The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears …

Thanks for listening . . .