Thursday, June 28, 2012

Magical Ears


The Trouble with Jenny’s Ear  was that she could hear not only what people were saying, but also what they were thinking. Jenny’s story was one of my favorite growing-up books, and back then I desperately wanted one of those marvelous ears and brothers like hers who would use their dictionaries and encyclopedias to help me win spelling bees and piles of money from quiz shows. (I’m wiser now. You and I both know that we’re much better off not knowing what people are thinking.)

I thought about Jenny and her amazing ear when I stood in front of a group of women who had just said goodbye to a pastor’s wife they had loved for a long time. Their faces were so sad that I couldn’t go on with the class without asking, “Why did you love her?”

They looked puzzled for a moment, and then someone answered, “It was her ears. She knew how to listen."

Heads nodded all over the room, and then another added, “Once I went to her house weighed down with a burden, and when I left, it was gone. When my husband asked what she had said to help, I realized that she had hardly said a word. She just listened. She had magical ears!”

They weren’t magical, but they were rare. Talkers are plentiful; listeners are few. It’s an exceptional woman who absorbs more words than she dispenses. But any woman who wants to help others has to learn to be quiet, for the cry of a heart can be heard only in stillness, and deep pain surfaces only in a silent place. Even without an ear like Jenny’s, when it’s quiet enough you can hear the most important words of all—the ones not spoken.

Sometimes all that’s needed to heal a wounded soul and lift a sagging spirit is one loving listener, for at its core, listening is love--love that sacrifices its need to be heard in favor of hearing, a desire to lecture in favor of learning, an opportunity to show off in favor of showing compassion. Instead of always leading the way, a patient listener, just by nodding in all the right places, can help a wanderer discover the right path on her own.

Quiet listening requires no aptitude or training, but it does take self-discipline to be “swift to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19). Try it. Practice. You’ll find the effect on your personal ministry even more marvelous than Jenny’s ear.  You may never win spelling bees or piles of cash, but someday you too will be heaped with loving praise for those magical ears of yours.


Taken from: Monday Morning Club - Claudia Barba

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