Monday, May 3, 2010

Say What?

All this talk about music leads me to ponder the art of listening.

Remember that show, Name That Tune? Contestants would claim to know the title of a song simply by hearing the first five, four, three… notes.

People who can do that are talented.

You’d think for how much I like music, I’d be a practiced and skillful listener.

I can’t do the Name That Tune thing. I’m better at Name That Movie after hearing only a few words or, even better, seeing one frame.

Too often, though, I play this game, sub-consciously of course, with my friends and family. When I’m in a hurry or distracted or tired or self-centered, I jump to conclusions after hearing a few words out of their mouths and believe I know what they are going to say, what they mean, what they want me to understand or comment on.

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” Robert McCloskey, Children’s Author

Problem is, I’m not really listening.

That leads to miscommunication, which more often than not, complicates relationships.

I certainly don’t like being on the receiving end of a not listener.

So why do I do it to others?

It’s not out of spite or anything. Laziness? Presumption? Neediness?

Or is it a simple case of habit?

Know when I’m at my worst in this department? When I’m having “quiet time” with God.

I do a heck or a lot more talking than I ever do listening. (Do I ever think of the astounding fact that God is listening to me when I do all this talking?!?)

And just like it does with human relationships, it effects the communication between me and my Perfect Lover.

“The first duty of love is to listen.” Paul Tillich, Theologian

One-way relationships are not only miserable, they’re unhealthy and unfair for both parties.

What life-changing opportunities have I missed not listening to God?

Do I make Him sad when He has to tell me something again and again because I’m not listening the first or second times?

And what happens when I refuse to listen?

Listening is essential to relationship.

Listening is definitely an art, a discipline that needs learned and practiced.

I’m no expert and I know of no step-by-step program to make me a better listener. Some people make quite the lucrative living talking to eager crowds about how to listen better. I guess the first hurdle for me is to be aware that I’m not listening. And then make an effort, a choice, to listen.

“To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.” Igor Stravinsky, Composer

If I do, I just might hear something useful or important or exciting or beautiful… like the sound of God smiling.

One more thing on this lovely Monday. My talented and wonderful writer buddy and sister/friend KM Wilsher (click here to visit her awesome site) awarded me the “Hands Stained with Ink” award, which basically means I’m supposed to answer the following questions and then pass along the award to three more bloggers. Well, here are my answers:

If you could write one word, what would it be?


Use one word to describe yourself:


What is something random about you/your writing that you'd like to say right now?

If I wasn't such a bashful procrastinator, I'd get a heck of a lot more writing done.

Think up an absurd title for a book:

Pussywillows in the Can

What is the strangest sentence you can think of?

Water rocks.

What do you write?

Inspirational love stories in various settings, present day, historical, fantasy

If you had a weird disease and could only make one sound over and over, what would it be?


Rules: 1 – Post about the award, 2 – Award 3 others, and 3 – answer the tag.

Thus, I bestow the Hands Stained with Ink award to… Alison N., Sarah B., and Avily J.

Thanks, KM for passing it to me. I appreciate your friendship and support!

Take care, Dry Ground family. See you Wednesday!


lynnrush said...


KM Wilsher said...

LOL. Love your answers to the hands stained with ink award/tag

It brought tears to my eyes thinking of all the moments I probably did not listen to Him. . .thank Him for mercy and his love that has no bounds.