Listening With Your Heart
Ears are good for lots of things. Hearing is a good place to start. I never take that for granted. There are some who do without. Then there is the fact that they give me something to hang my earrings on. And they are what I use to get my hair out of my face when I'm writing and I tuck those stray strands behind them. I do a lot of hearing. Listening is what I do. People have heartaches and they have a need to tell. Sometimes I can barely get them to quit talking long enough to tell them what God has to say about their predicament. And everyone has a predicament! Somehow, people who do not know anything about me know that in me they have a safe place to speak. People who do not know that I've spent my lifetime listening or that I am a counselor. Strangers. I don't know how they know. The kids make fun of me all the time. One of them suggested some time ago that it was because I make too much eye contact with people who I do not know. So I worked hard to NOT look anyone in the eye when I was out and about. The kids watched. It still happened. So, they gave up on that theory. Pam and Jim tell it from their point of view just to make me laugh. If you have access to them, don't ask them about it. It makes me look bad, and it involves Thanksgiving dinner.
So in the listening, there is hearing. And in the hearing, there are sounds. There are sounds that are memories. One of my very first is of waking up early on a spring morning and hearing the birds chirping and singing through my open window. I remember being filled with joy and hope at that sound. My heart still remembers and feels it again every time I hear them sing. That's pretty amazing when you consider that we had moved out of that apartment before I began school, and that I grew up in a home filled with brokenness. God was already working and speaking to my heart. Offering me hope. There are precious things to hear. The sound of your child in laughter. The voices of your family as they sit around the dining room table playing board games. The sound of rain, beating against a metal awning when you are safe and warm inside with your loved ones. The whisper of 'I love you' from someone who holds your heart in their hand, and in whom you can trust to keep it well. But what I came to write about is a different kind of listening. It's listening with your heart. Don't confuse this with trusting in your heart, because that's not it at all. It's listening for more than what is on the surface. Proverbs 2:2 - "So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding." People tell you things, sometimes without words. I am good at hearing those things, too. What I'm not good at is believing them and applying that knowledge as needed. But the things that you hear with your heart are the most truthful you will ever find outside of the very Words of God. And the Lord will tell you things you need to know. When someone tells you that they don't care with their actions, they don't care. Listen. It doesn't matter what their words say. When someone tells you by their actions that the love that they have for themselves is greater than their love for you, then they don't love you like they should. Listen. It doesn't matter what their words say. When someone doesn't have time for you, then they are telling you something important. Listen. It doesn't matter what their words say. When someone lies for sport, telling elaborate tales about being a shrimp boat captain or pretending they are a foreigner just to see if they can pull it off, you should listen. They are practicing for the big league. And when someone tells you that they fight dirty and that they will always win, no matter what the cost or means, listen. They really mean it. You'll end up very disappointed if you go through life thinking that all people have the same heart as you. Listen carefully to what others say. Listen with your heart.