This I Believe

Steve - Romeo, Michigan
Entered on February 11, 2008
Age Group: 65+

This I believe. That listening is an act of love. When we hold our tongues, and allow others to speak, we empower them, we give them value. We show honor and respect. I have a friend who is confined to a wheelchair. His MS is debilitating, and makes even the smallest chore a major undertaking. Daily life saps his energy. His level of frustration is high, and his dependency on people and systems, out of his control, often leads to exasperation, anger, and depression. In times of need, he calls me. He talks, and I listen. And when I listen, he calms down. And his burden lifts a little. Some of the world’s greatest teachers have been those who listen. They pose the questions, and listen to their students for the answers. Both teacher and student are the wiser for it. The world today is loud with noise, and one-way sound and speech. People and nations talk at each other, but seldom really listen to the other’s hardships and complaints. Technology allows for speaking, but not listening. A phone call often leads into a maze or never ending circle of voice recordings, sound of music, or being placed on hold for hours. Our busy schedules don’t allow us time for our most personal relationships. We take people for granted, thinking that they will always be with us, until they are gone. Those we love the most, our mothers and fathers, our husbands and wives, our children, we sometimes see the least. We don’t have time. And when we see them, we don’t listen. We are too busy telling our own story. To listen is to learn. We learn to know the other, and thereby learn to know ourselves. Listening expands our knowledge of the world. That is why radio is such a wonderful medium. We are the richer for it. Listening enlivens our imagination. It inspires us to reach for the heavens. To listen is to love, and in that love, anything is possible. When we listen to others, we communicate that we value them, that they are important to us, that we love them. When we listen, we give of ourselves. We give attention, and we give our most precious gift, our time. The greatest compliment my home-bound friend has given me is to tell me that no one else listens to him as I do. And he calls me his friend. Blessed are those who listen for they shall be called lovers and friends.