Today I get to listen to rain. In truth, this isn’t really rain. It’s more of a mist. But in San Diego, rain is a rarity so when the ground is wet, I pretend the mist is actually rain. Today my husband even turned on some of that music with nature sounds in the background…..so rain it is.
And all of this is a nice switch from all of the children-rubbing-each-other-the-wrong-way sounds I have been listening to as of late. We have been ushering in a new era in our family’s life. I recently realized that my kids in all of their kid-ness don’t really know what to do with all of it. So they cope in the best way they can…by bugging each other.
And so I have been quiet around my family lately because I have not wanted to add my two cents of irritation on top of the generous amount that is already in play. And in my quiet, I have been thinking about listening.
I think listening is a form of grace. There are lots of “rules” to good listening, and I am certainly not against them. Those rules have helped me a lot over the years. And good communication requires more than listening alone. But if I leave the rules behind for a while and think solely about the element of listening, I find it awfully beautiful.
Listening says I see that you are pouring a piece of yourself out and I am going to try and catch it. I am not going to try and change direction of what you are spewing, and I may choose to stand out of the way enough so all that gushing doesn’t drench me, but I will stay here and try to take in the fountain that is you. I am going to let you be exactly and humanly who you are in this moment. I am going to notice you. I am going to consider you.
And 9 times out of 10, that is a really big deal to whomever you give that listening gift of grace to. But I have noticed that sometimes the person talking doesn’t really want to be listened to at all. They just want to talk. Or they just want their way. Or they don’t really know what they want at all. And I think that is very very human. And it might be because they have lived their whole life with no idea what listening truly is. But I don’t really know what to do with it because in those cases whatever I have to offer will not be enough.
Kind of like when I was a new mom with a screaming baby and I wanted God to make my baby stop screaming and make me peaceful inside. But instead he loved me. I did not think his love was nearly enough at the time.
And those 1 out of 10 are the times when I especially see listening as an expression of grace. And it is not easy. Or for the faint of heart. I suppose grace never is.
P.S. Don’t think it hasn’t occurred to me that all this rain is going to make my weeds grow back again.