Sometimes My Assignment is Just to Listen

Sometimes my assignment is just to listen.

The patient has something they want to say, something he has been working through for some time.  He needs someone who will appreciate what he has to say to sit and listen, to help make it real.

Interestingly, what he has to say is often something I need to hear for where I am in life.

Yesterday one of those times happened.  I walked into a room, introduced myself, and the patient just started in.  It was quickly obvious that he was delivering a well thought out philosophy about his life.  Sprinkled in were facts about his life, good stuff and bad.  But mostly he was telling me about attitudes and deeply held beliefs that he had developed to help him navigate life, especially in those times of great uncertainty such as he is currently facing.

One of his life principles is to live with the anticipation that each day is going to be a great day.  He told me that when he did, that it was amazing how often it was a great day, no matter what might be happening.  He said that it made tomorrow so much easier, like rolling on a round tire, rather than a square one.

He talked about the abundance of blessings in his life, physical and relational.  He also talked about rock-bottom times.  He said that if he wanted to accept the good things, he also needed to be able to accept the difficult.

He and his wife both exuded joy, in abundance.

What he had to say was important to him.  It turns out that it was really good stuff, helpful to me.  But even if it hadn’t been, even if I hadn’t agreed with what he had to say, it would have been important to listen just as intently to validate him as a person, to be an appreciative audience as he rehearsed his strongest inner beliefs and feelings.

That’s how important listening is.  I was again taught that talking is a highly over-rated ministry tool, and that listening is highly under-rated.

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