Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Holy Listening / CC BY-NC 2.0
This past weekend I experienced a beautiful gift. Over 60 women of my church traveled to Lake Junaluska, NC, for a conference on Holy Listening. It was a peaceful time with beautiful women of all generations, and I'm still replaying the wisdom and laughter in my mind.
Don't you think listening is so important? Listening to others, to your own mind and spirit, and to God?
Dr. Karen Luke Johnson facilitated the retreat, and shared some incredible quotes on listening. Here are a few of my favorites:

"When you listen generously to people they can hear the truth in themselves, often for the first time. Our listening creates a sanctuary for the homeless parts within another person." Rachel Naomi Remen

"Listen is such a little, ordinary word that is easily passed over. Yet we all know the pain of not being listened to, or not being heard. ...In a way, not to be heard is not to exist." Margaret Guenther

"We all suffer, at times, from the effort to study something instead of living it. Or from the effort to fix or advise rather than to listen and hold. But as the theologian Paul Tillich puts it, 'The first duty of love is to listen.'" Mark Nepo / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
If you go to a conference on listening, you can be sure it won't be all talk. We spent a lot of time in prayer, some silent, some spoken. I wanted to share two of my favorite written prayers/poems with you. I hope you enjoy them!

Be silent.
Be still.
Wait before your God.
Say nothing.
Ask nothing.
Be still.
Let your God look upon you.
That is all. God knows.
God understands.
God loves you with an enormous love.
God only wants to look upon you with love.
Let your God love you.
(Edwina Gately, Psalms of a Lay Woman)

In the busyness of this day
grant me a stillness of seeing, O God.
In the conflicting voices of my heart
grant me a calmness of hearing.
Let my seeing and hearing,
my words and my actions
be rooted in a silent certainty of your presence.
Let my passions for life
and the longings for justice that stir within me
be grounded in the experience of your stillness.
Let my life be rooted in the ground of your peace, O God;
let me be rooted in the depths of your peace.
Celtic Benediction: Morning and Night Prayer, J. Philip Newell, 2000

So what are your thoughts on listening? Listening without the need to fix is sometimes hard for me, especially with my kids. Do you have good listeners in your life? Are you one of them?

Have a peaceful, lovely day, y'all!
Love, Becky


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

This sounds wonderful! And something I need to work on...since I've mastered the art of gratitude, I think this might be next! It beckons you to really demonstrate love by slowing down and attending to another.

Jenny said...

I love women filled God loving conferences. And of course I need to listen more! But like green Girl just stated...attending to one another...that gift of listening is a big one. Thank you for sharing the message. Also...I finished your excellent book a week ago and have to say, I was also reading Sarah Turnbull's expat book, along with Mark Greenside's "I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do)" and Lucy Knisley's French Milk and found yours to rise above the rest. And I have looked over your blog a bit wondering if there are any updates on Madame Mallet and all? I have known some M. Mallet and they were not French...but I loved them.

rochambeau said...

What a amazing post, Becky! Could I have your permission to copy it?
Listening is the key to connection with others. We can learn MUCH by listening to God, others and ourselves. Yet, it a good reminder to think about and recommit oneself to Listen!

Thank you !

It is such a joy to be with woman of all ages. We can learn much from our elders and those much younger too~

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey GG, I agree!

Jenny, You are so kind! I really appreciate your nice comments about my book! Madame Mallet is still her same ornery, funny self. I heard from her a little less than a year ago--I need to write her again and see what's new on the street!

Constance, you are welcome to copy away, whatever you like. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post.

Susan said...

What a beautiful post. I used to be a good listener, and somewhere along the way I lost the knack to listen to the things that are not being said, as well. Thanks for such a lovely reminder. Take care, Susan.

Corine said...

Thanks for the reminder. I love Rachel's quote...I know my friends can usually figure out their own answers as I sit and listen to their concerns. I need to be a better listener to my kids, sometimes we take that for granted. Imagine if we felt like God never listened to us during out trials.

Angie Muresan said...

This is a thought provoking post, Becky. I find myself too often nodding along and not really listening. It isn't just disrespectful to the speaker, but also to myself. Such life treasures could be gathered from the words of others.

Attic Rat said...

Lovely post, Becky. Great food for thought. Listening is a very loving gift to give someone.


Debbie Egizio said...

Having a friend who is a good listener is the greatest comfort. We all need people in our lives who can give us their undivided attention and their ear. I hope that I am that for my friends.