When I would go to my paternal grandmother’s house she’d say, “Come, Itty Bit (her name for me), come sit on the porch swing and tell me everything in your life. I want to know everything.” I would sit by her on the porch swing (which was actually mounted to a beam at the rear of an open-ended double garage near the door to the kitchen of her farm house). As we slowly rocked back and forth I would talk and talk and she would REALLY listen. When I was with my grandmother it was like there was no one else in the world. I was the center of her universe at that moment. My Dad was the same way. He learned it from her. He had three daughters, but each of us thought we were his favorite. He made you feel that way. He always REALLY listened. When Ann Voskamp shared a conversation with her mother in her blog today, I was mesmerized by the words she used to describe her mother’s response to her conversation. “She gathers me up in her listening,” writes Ann. Ah, yes, that is what my grandmother and my father did! They gathered me up. No matter what the mood or state of my life, when I left them, I felt that I had been gathered up. My grandmother and my father are both gone from this earth. I have met no one since that gathers me up in their listening like they did. It is a gift of God, this listening so the other feels listened to. I know I do not have that gift, but I would like to attempt to be more like they were. In Colossians 1:11 are the words “being strengthened in all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.” It takes time and focus to REALLY listen, especially if someone has said the same thing over and over. My mother told me the same story today for the n-th time. It is a story that blesses her. It is a story of an accomplishment of hers. I prayed for strength to hear it afresh and He gave me the power to REALLY listen, one more time. I am not always so resourceful, but I celebrate the victory of today.
Thanks for listening,