Listening is an art. It is a learned and practiced art and then it becomes a skill. I think few are very good at really listening.
“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity…” Simone Weil (1909-1943)
What little I know about listening I learned from Grandpa Freeman as we sat many hours together on his front porch in mostly silence with little conversation when I was growing up. The other person who has taught me about listening is perhaps the best listener and conversationalist I have ever known and that is my friend E.O. Here is how and why:
-When in conversation he is completely focused on the person talking and what is being said.
-His eyes never wander and dart across the room or out the window. His eyes are always looking straight into the eyes of the person talking. (His foot may jiggle a little but not his eyes.)
-In conversation one feels as though they are the only person on earth that he is thinking about while speaking and listening. (He has many other things to be thinking about and if he is…one would never know it while in conversation.)
-He never interrupts by trying to ‘cut you off’ so he may say what he wants to say. He waits his turn carefully and patiently before responding.
-He listens with purpose and speaks with candid wisdom. He is one the wisest people I have ever known. He is one of “the wise men” that Jesus promised to send to us. I listen to him. Bless the day he was born.
“Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes.” Jesus