Not long ago, I was having a hard time. I told a friend, and he listened. He didn’t try to fix me or give me advice or encourage me to shape up or talk me out of feeling what I was feeling. He didn’t say much at all. Every once in a while, he would ask me a question, as if I were a work of art and he wanted to be sure to take in all the hidden beauty. In the end, he simply said, “I don’t want you to feel alone in this. I am here.”
Someday, when the tables are turned, I hope I remember what lavish listening feels like.
“Then the lame will leap like a deer. . . .” Isaiah 35:6
“An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside of one’s own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker’s world from the inside. . . .” M. Scott Peck