Listening, it’s so hard to do. Why is that? As soon as we learn to walk, the lessons begin. “Listen to me,” “Hey are you listening,” “I said, listen.” “Were you even listening to me?” “If only you listened.” “Ever wonder why God gave you two ears and only one mouth?” “Shut up and listen shut up and color.” “Just do it–now.” “Is anybody out there?”
With all this great instruction, why am I still so alone? Why can’t someone understand me? How come whenever I tell my friends a problem they have a bigger one? And how can someone change the subject when I’m in mid thought? Are you hearing what I’m saying?
We got a major problem in this world—listening. On the national scene people get into politics because they can talk—real good. But can they listen? Coaching, leadership, office, friendship isn’t about motivation, character, speaking, organizing, planning, or just getting stuff done. It’s about listening. We were created on this planet to be servants—to God, to the environment, to each other. Number one quality of a servant—listening.
You can’t do what you don’t know, and you don’t know what you haven’t heard.
How many times have you had this conversation: “Why do don’t you”—No, “Have you ever tried”—doesn’t work, What if—no way, “How about”—yea but…
Agggghhhhh is the sound of me tearing my eyelids out asking my very intelligent person to just listen, please just listen one time to meeee. You’re killing me people, with your years of experience, your overwhelming intelligence, and yes your infinite need to fill my void with your noise.
When I start engaging, I hear the anxiety, I hear the um’s, I hear feet shuffling, I hear ice rattling in the glass, and hear your words, and I hear you. I hear you man. I get it. I get you. It’s so loud; the cacophony of words, sounds, movements. It’s dizzying, it hurts my head. My brain is swimming in your noise. Stopping only to sink for a moment then wiggles to the surface for a breath of air. And through it all, I hear you.
But dag-gone it, when is it my turn? When will you hear my question, when will you pause to hear my plight? I’ve listened to your stock report, weather report, political report, doctor’s report. They are all filed under ‘does it really matter.’ Now for my report, which is filed under, ‘This really matters.’ I’m not hurting any more than you. Or maybe I am. I don’t really know. I don’t care if you understand, can compare, shine a light, or show me the way. I just want to be heard.
Ahhh is the sound of me exhaling knowing that someone just heard me. I’m no better, no worse. Or maybe I am. What am I? Content. Content knowing that at least someone just performed a herculean task without a drop of sweat, an ounce of blood, or a gnashing of teeth. Someone spent one of their moments on this earth for me.
We are all rushing to our demise. One step, one day, one pointless conversation at a time. Our clocks are ticking. In the quiet of the night, they keep us awake. In the middle of the day, they force us to turn on the TV, computer, phone or anything to drown the constancy. Tick tick. It doesn’t stop. We don’t know if its winding up or down. Tick tick tick. I heard it for a moment, but my alternative rock station took care of that. Tick tock. There it is again. I heard it in your tears. I heard you’re the sound of you clock. It scared me, like Alice in Wonderland swooshing down a rabbit hole.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
But somehow I landed, somehow through all the strangeness, my feet hit the ground. Somehow like Max in where the wild things are, I returned home to find my dinner still waiting for me. And somehow it was still warm.
Thank you for taking three minutes to listen to me. My hope is that your world is still warm. Please take one more minute to let me know by connecting on my website below.
Andy is a Clinical Psychologist who lost his son in a tragic motorcycle accident and now authors articles on bereavement. The quiz is available! Go to http://andymdavidson.com/Home/Pgd to find out if you may have Prolonged Grief Disorder. Look forward to his upcoming posts, and books. Follow him at his website, AndyMDavidson.com and Facebook.com/ThroughLifeandLoss to find out more about prolonged grief.