Listening

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It takes at least two persons to have a conversation.
And it takes both speaking and listening to carry it on.
Often, the listening part of a conversation is overlooked;
yet it is even more important than talking for a fruitful dialogue.

When we pay attention to the ideas of another
and try to find common ground or solutions,
we are engaged in a discussion.
Often to learn where the other person is coming from
and hopefully  arrive at shared solutions.
When we pay attention to the feelings of another
and try to empathize with his situation,
we are engaged in a dialogue
and hopefully come to a better understanding of others.
In the former, we listen with the intent to reply.
In the latter, we listen with the intent to empathize.

So it is in prayer, my conversation with God.
I wake up in the morning listening to the words of my God,
with the background music provided by the birds just outside my window
or sometimes the lilting singsong voice of Jane.
I stop and listen to what Anabelle is trying to tell me
as we go about our day.
And I pay attention and listen to what the events and people
around me are trying to tell me.

Of late, I have difficulties listening though.
I am becoming hard of hearing and
things take a while to register in my mind
as I am increasingly slow on the pick-up.
Sometimes, I have this bad habit of hearing only what I want to hear.
That is why I often need peace and quiet to hear and listen.
My prayer: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”

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