Years ago, I walked into a sandwich shop. I was there to meet a new friend for a cup of coffee and conversation. I anticipated listening to this person and finding out her story. But as soon as I set my purse down and scooted into my orange pleather seat, I knew that she had very little intention on talking.
She looked me straight in the eye and began asking questions about me, about my heart.
I was immediately uncomfortable.
My gut response surprised me. I should have been thrilled to have this person listening to me with their eyes as well as their ears. To sense the level of sincerity involved.
But it made me squirm.
I wasn’t used to being truly listened to in that way. It was as if she could look straight through me, as if my heart were lying naked right there on the formica table between us.
What made this new friend different from others I had met for the first time?
Eyes and Ears and Heart.
All three of those combined in an effort to truly listen, to truly know me.
After the initial shock, my soul quickly went from feeling exposed to feeling safe and guts spilled that day.
Tears flowed and laughter sang.
I will never forget that day….
— Can you remember a time when you were truly heard? When you felt safe and understood? I’ll bet you can remember the person, the time, the place.
The power of a listening heart on a person’s life is profound.
The effect of eye contact during conversation breaks down walls.
The presence of a sincere heart allows that conversation to go to the next level.
It’s a rare gift that we seldom experience and probably, if we’re honest, rarely use to its fullest potential.
We look more closely at our phones and those conversations than we do into the eyes of another person and their words.
We listen to our music and memorize lyrics, but don’t really hear the hearts of those around us.
And when we do sit down for conversations, we are more prone to talking. We are distracted by our schedules and media and our own thoughts.
We need to change that.
Because listening changes US and impacts THEM.
Listening with our eyes and ears and hearts opens up worlds we never anticipated.
– We learn something new about another human being.
– We gain new perspective and insight.
– We glean new understanding of uncharted territory.
– We get to witness the beauty of a person who realizes they are really being heard.
– We are able to touch another’s life without saying one “important” word.
Souls emerge in this environment.
It is wildly underestimated and too often dismissed or even forgotten.
We are too busy, too tired, too self-focused.
But it’s something we can do
Every. Single. Day.
We can do it for family, friends, neighbors, and maybe every once in a while, a stranger.
We can listen with our Eyes, our Ears, our Hearts.
We can actually make a difference in someone’s life.
I can’t recall what my coffee tasted like that day all those years ago. But I will always remember what it felt like to be listened to with a pair of eyes, two ears and a big heart.
And I long to do the same….
James 1:19 – Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
Proverbs 18:13, 15 -To answer before listening—that is folly and shame…The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.