listening is such a funny thing.
in adoption class last night, we watched little vignettes that showed different interactions between kids and their foster parents. for one of them, we had to figure out what aspects of good listening the foster mom demonstrated.
my first ideas were "she reworded the question," "she used humor to defuse the girl's frustration," and "she told a story that showed she could relate."
but someone else's answer was better.
listening is ... listening. just plain old opening up your ears to what someone else has to say. not solving. not relating. not speaking.
and the weird thing about listening is that it can be tiring, even though it seems like listeners are doing nothing. this is recognized - all teachers know that students need breaks. classes need changes in activities. it's hard to listen all the time.
i'm thinking back to a friend of mine who saw me through an emotional sinkhole. when i needed a shoulder, i called her and talked talked talked. she listened. we went for drives. walks. drank buckets of coffee. and she listened. (she was amazing. a true, true friend in need.)
well ... i was rereading Second Mile People today, and was struck by something the author wrote.
"the Saviour does not need a noisy banging to draw his attention to us. Such is His love that He cannot forget us a moment of the day or night, and He has even said 'Before they call, I will answer.'"
it's wonderful, isn't it, that the Lord doesn't have office hours? we don't have to make appointments to meet Him, or be screened by a batch of underlings first. we can just appeal straight to Him. His ear is already attuned to our voice - He waits to hear us, He loves to hear us.
strange, strange love! that He should take the time - any time! all the time! - to listen.