“Being heard is so close to being loved, that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.”
— David Augsburger
Love is one of humankind’s greatest mysteries.
Just how do we love? – the unlovable, the one who has betrayed us, the person who returns ambivalence for our love, or the person we are paired to who suddenly or inexplicably changes... these and so many more scenarios are pitted against love.
It can seem impossible to love in some circumstances.
But it is always possible to love, as God is love, and our good Lord may make the seeming impossible possible anytime. But what is the key to love? How do divest the power of God and love, even against the odds?
Everyone wants to be heard; to be understood.
If someone gets alongside us and genuinely listens and hears us, they gain our trust and we respect them. That’s because they have respected us.
If we, likewise, are to gain the trust of others, we will need to respect them so much as to get inside them and understand them. Listening so we hear and more fully understand is not hard; it relies on mindfulness as we focus and concentrate on the person before us. We focus well enough that all other distractions to hear them are screened out as irrelevant.
Hearing well is a practiced skill, and the best of shepherds become masters of it.
If being heard is being loved, we have found possibly the most powerful instrument on earth as it is in heaven.
As we ‘hear’ we listen to the words spoken, their tone, inflection, pace, emotion, body language, and what is being said as well as on what is not being said.
To hear someone where they feel understood is a masterstroke of human relationship.
When we hear with all of our being we love. When we are heard with all of someone’s attention, that’s what it’s like to feel loved. To be able to bless someone by truly hearing and understanding them is to be God’s instrument of peace and joy.
QUESTIONS in REVIEW:
1. In the David Augsburger quote, what of it do you agree with and what of it do you disagree with?
2. What barriers do you find are hardest to overcome in actively listening with mindfulness?
3. How do you get over the ambivalence of others who seem uninterested in you, whilst committing to listening to them?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.