My best friend Penny is an introvert. This is a good thing, because I am an extrovert so we balance one another nicely. Penny knows me very well; and understands my tendency to talk on and on about things in my life. She listens well and offers good feedback. We’ve known one another for over 50 years, and Penny recognizes all of the nuances in my voice and all my pet phrases and expressions. I’ve learned how to draw Penny out and get her to talk about things in her life, through asking the right questions, and clarifying things she has shared. Our conversations are affirming for both of us. We are able through love and friendship to establish a close mutual understanding.
We’ve all been trapped in conversations with someone who talked too much and listened too little. We wanted to share our thoughts with this person but couldn’t get a word in edgewise. When this happens, we often feel frustrated and tune the other person out. While the other person rambles on and on, we may nod our heads or offer an “uh-huh,” but chances are we are no longer really listening. Conversations like this are monologues rather than dialogues.
We do this all the time when we talk to God. We ramble on and on and talk all the time. God does not tune us out or abandon us. Even when we talk all the time, God is still listening. God is infinitely more patient and tolerant than we are. God wants to communicate with us and desires a two-way relationship. As we grow in the practice of listening to God, we might be surprised at how eager God is to speak to us. God wants to be heard just as we want to be heard. We can learn to recognize all the nuances of God’s voice and begin listening and looking for new ways God speaks to us.
God may speak in and through our life events and experiences. God may speak by surrounding us with the gift of peace when we need it most. God may speak through a friend who calls us unexpectedly. God may speak to us through a sunrise or a sunset, through the eyes of a child or elder, through our tears and our laughter, and in countless other ways. Our monologues can become dialogues and our two-way relationship will allow us to wrap ourselves in God’s embrace.
Acts 12: 14-15)
Let us pray...
Loving and listening God, there are times where I am not very good at listening to you. I know that you hear me even when I go on and on. Thank you for not tuning me out and allowing me to speak. Help me open up space for listening to you. Hold me in a state of expectation, so that I learn to recognize you in many and myriad ways. Amen.