Are you listening?
Mom, are you hearing me?
Have you heard a word I’ve said?
How many times has someone, who has been talking on and on, stopped to ask if you were listening? If you were paying attention? If it even mattered that they were sharing something with you?
Me? Lots. Especially with my children. There is this Mom Switch that seems to click in, when dealing with our growing children. Before I knew it, I’d hear
Yada yada blah blah blah
Not a single word coming out of my children’s mouths was making it through my hears. Nope – my thoughts had taken off in several different directions. You know the drill? I lost important information. Even in having them repeat it, something of value is lost.
It hurt when one of those kids would look at me and say – dejectedly –
You didn’t hear me, mom.
There have been times since my children have grown when I’ve wished I could go back and re-do. BE THERE. One hundred percent focused in the moment, without worries of other children, schedules, meals, car pools, or anything in all the world. Just listening! And learning.
Listening to the birds singing is a gift to be missed if I’m too caught up in other things. Hearing the laughter of grandchildren, the whistle of the wind, the gentle ring of chimes that sit by the kitchen window. When I’m not careful, I don’t listen well enough to capture the magic.
There are other times when a different kind of listening is important. Vital, actually, to our well being or to that of another. Sometimes- to both.
Here’s a beautiful AMAZING story of a man who learned to listen – and why it is so important. I think it may affect you as powerfully as it did me.
A LESSON LEARNED
I was walking down a dimly lit street late one evening when I heard muffled screams coming from behind a clump of bushes. Alarmed, I slowed down to listen and panicked when I realized that what I was hearing were the unmistakeable sounds of a struggle” heavy grunting, frantic scuffling and tearing of fabric. only yards away from where I stood, a woman was being attacked.
Should I get involved? I was frightened for my own safety and cursed myself for having suddenly decided to take a new route home that night.
What if I became another statistic? Shouldn’t I just run to the nearest phone and call the police?
Although it seemed an eternity, the deliberations in my head had taken only seconds, but already the cries were growing weaker. I knew I had to act fast. How could I walk away from this?
No! I finally resolved I could not turn my back on the fate of this unknown woman, even if it meant risking my own life.
I am not a brave man, nor am I athletic. I don’t know where I found the moral courage and physical strength – but once I had finally resolved to help the girl, I became strangely transformed. I ran behind the bushes and pulled the assailant off the woman. Grappling, we fell to the ground, where we wrestled for a few moments until the attacker jumped up and escaped.
Panting hard, I scrambled upright and approached the girl, who was crouched behind a tree, sobbing. In the darkness, I could barely see her outline, but I could certainly sense her trembling shock. Not wanting to frighten her further, I at first spoke to her from a distance. Soothingly, I said,
It’s okay. The man ran away. You’re safe now.
There was a long pause and then I heard the words, uttered in wonder – in amazement:
Dad? Is that YOU?
And then, from behind the tree, stepped my youngest daughter, Katherine.
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When I first read this story, friends, my eyes grew large as plums and tears sprang from them. And I thought about listening. And acting upon that listening.
We have a gift offered to us – each of us – to listen to that still, small voice that directs us in the right way.
To listen is to show love. To listen is to show wisdom. To listen may be a way of changing our lives, and bettering our mortal journey. Sometimes, listening and following – even unaware of what we’re doing or why – can save a life. What goodness there is in paying attention, and listening wholly.
And goodness matters.