Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Today I Choose to Listen

How often as humans do we forget to truly listen to individuals.  We say "Hi, how are you doing," ignore the other person's answer happily, and keep walking past them.  Do you ever stop and really think about how that person is feeling, or what they have been through this very morning?  The more I sit down and talk with people the more my heart breaks and head spins for what others so commonly go through in their very own homes.

To many young adults abuse, addiction, and loneliness has been the theme of their lives.  It is "normal" for them.   Their whole life has been filled with rejection from their parents, abuse from step parents, and horrifying scenes on some of us dare to imagine.  These people amaze me with their strength to get out of bed each morning, much less attempt to live a normal life.  I honestly can't say I would respond so positiviely if I was placed in the same situation.

The craziest part about this is that these people look like you and me, they go to school with us, they worship with us in church, and they eat dinner at our kitchen tables.  We interact with them on a regular basis and claim to know them quite well, but when it comes down to it we have never actually asked to hear their story.  The background of lies and hurt is still being hidden by the father of darkness.  When will we decide to break this facade and truly ask each other how things are going?

One woman in particular comes to mind as I write this.  Before we became frineds she had long since known all of the acquaintances we share through extra-curricular activities.  She has more acquaintances than I do now that I think of it, but when I first met her I could see that she was a girl who easily got skipped over by most people.  Kind of plain, kind of boring, kind of quiet...it was easy to see that most people said their routine hello and walked on by.

However as I really sat down with her and did nothing more than listen.  I began to hear story after story that needed to be told.  She told me of her abusive background, how she coped with it, and how she was very much still dealing with it.  As open as she was you would have thought the whole world knew, but the opposite was the truth.  Hardly anyone had heard this girl's heart-wrenching story of survival.  Why?  Because they wouldn't take the time to listen.  That's it.  She was obviously dieing to talk to someone about all of this, but if no one really asks she has no reason to really tell.

Because she chose to break the silence I have been able to truly pray for her with specific heart-felt prayers that God listens and responds too.  Speaking of, God listens to us thousands of times more than we listen to him or anyone else.  Perhaps it is time to change that.

Who do you know (or not know I should say) that has been placed in your life with a story to tell?  Who have you not really asked about lately?  Do you think this is a reflection of not caring?  Jesus tells us to put others above ourselves, what does this look like in your conversations with other people?
Perhaps there is someone who needs your prayers and support, someone you talk to but never listen to.