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Gift of Listening is a Special Gift We Can All Afford

These last few days, I am continually reminded of the power of listening. For all the noise in our world - and there is more than ever - I imagine there are benefits here for the listener, as much as the one being heard.

I read a story of a man who attended a 12-step program for men for the first time. He marveled at the way no one cut in and talked over one another, which was his default experience when in groups of men. He said he left feeling peaceful and satisfied in a whole new way.

What does it mean to allow someone the freedom to express themselves, with absolute space and patience - and for the listener to not spend a sliver of attention considering their response? What happens then?

This man said he came home and decided to try that with his wife. They’d been married 42 years. Instead of cutting in and offering his opinion regularly, he found the discipline to just listen. He said it was hard to break the habit, at first.

But, he goes on to say he relaxed into it, and he then learned more about his wife in one year than he had in all 42 years of marriage.

This story becomes poignant when we learn that his wife died unexpectedly about a year later. Their grown son told the man, after she passed, something his mother shared with him that year: she felt she’d gotten a new husband.

heart shaped gifts

We will all be giving gifts this holiday. The gift of a deeper, more patient listening may not be felt immediately. But, the power of the shifts over time… This year, let’s make one of our purchases a symbolic reminder to give this gift as well. If you buy a new soap dish for your someone special, and you look at it every time you wash your hands - let it be a reminder of the power of what more we can give, in how we are together. Or, your new heart key-chain as one you can hold in your hand.

Imagine the beauty, of being a whole new mate to the one we love!
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