This is the title of a delightful children’s book with a simple and powerful message. A child has a bad day and while all the other animals try to make suggestions and ‘fix’ things, rabbit quietly snuggles up to the child and just listens.
Listening is a gift. To the person being listened to it says a lot without ‘saying’ anything! It builds a connection based on patient understanding and compassion, creating a special bond between speaker and listener.
In his book “The Listening Life”, Adam McHugh includes a chapter called ‘The Jesus school of Listening’. Jesus was an amazing listener, and he frequently took time to listen to those whom others often ignored. Blind man, Bartimaeus, yelled out as Jesus walked past, and while the crowd furiously ‘shushed’ him, Jesus stopped, he listened to the man’s cries and stood still to be present and connect with him. This was a life-changing moment for Bartimaeus! McHugh suggests to us that “perhaps standing still is the beginning of listening”. This is a good challenge to us to ‘stand still and listen’ in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the everyday as we do life with friends, colleagues, family, and as part of a caring church community.
As we interact with others, having a listening posture is a great way to build a connection, to allow space to hear the heart, hurts and hopes of others, to be attentive to their story. This will open the door for deeper and meaningful conversations. Who might you need to listen to today?