It’s a diverse crowd at Johnny’s Cafe with plenty to say, they just don’t always get a chance to say it, or if they do, there’s no one to really listen. This is true of people everywhere. There are almost always more people with something to say than those who are interested in hearing what that might be.
Let’s face it: we are all needy. Even those who are shy and withdrawn would give their right arm for someone to show a real interest in what’s going on in their head. We were all created with the capacity for communication, because we are all in God’s image. To experience another person is to experience more of God. We need to learn that to engage another in conversation is to engage in something sacred, and true holiness can be found in the process.
Listening is unselfish. That’s why there always seem to be more people waiting to talk than those who are waiting to listen. We are all more selfish than not; we want people to care about what we have to say. But if we learn to think about listening as something sacred, we might be able to change that.
It starts with putting a significant value on what people have to say. Their words eventually provide a pathway to the soul, so we want to know about that path and be careful on it.
It is also true that listening is not passive. Listening involves being engaged, locked-in, locked-on, alert and awake to what is being said, and able to rephrase it to be sure you heard it right. Believe me, I’m speaking of what I know, but don’t do most of the time. If I ask someone to rephrase something, it’s not to clarify; it’s because I didn’t listen the first time. It takes a good deal of effort to do this right, but it will make a world of difference if you do. Listening is not easy.
People at Johnny’s have plenty to say; is anyone interested in listening?