To ‘listen’ another’s soul
into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another
~ Douglas Steere* [1901-1995]
Well, Dear God, here's a big shocker for you ~
I do acknowledge that sometimes I am so busy thinking about what I want to say that I forget to listen to what someone else is saying! I'm learning, slowly, to give others their air time even though I'm sure my response is the better comment and the most necessary. (Yeah, ok, I'll work on that thought, too.) I have experienced the rare moment when I feel listened to, as if what I think and say and feel are important to someone. Other times I guess I go on and on about my stuff trying to re-experience the feeling of importance. But I've even had the rarer moment when I've just been present and listened to someone in need and let whatever I wanted to say go away unspoken. That is a truly amazing and humbling feeling.
True listening is a gift, in either direction, and I need to be more attentive to others and less attentive to what I want to say about it. And the best example I have as a pay-off is You, always here, always listening even when I ramble (like now). Thank You for that and, in the meantime, a little help along the way, please?! amen.
*Douglas Steere was a Quaker ecumenist who was professor of philosophy from 1928 to 1964 at Haverford College near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and spent a year as a visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Dr. Steere was significantly involved in Quaker post-war relief efforts in Poland, Norway, and Finland after World War II and was given national recognition by Finland in 1987. He held a PhD from Harvard and was a Rhodes Scholar with two additional degrees from Oxford University. A prolific author, editor and translator of books and articles on Quakerism and other religions, he was invited as an Ecumenical Observer at the Second Vatican Council.
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