Monday, September 24, 2012

an unfamiliar trail

THAT wasn't as easy as it sounded. THAT was uneasy, difficult, exhausting, and apparently, difficult to watch, to witness.

THAT was easy to write, wisdom snipped from Covey's '7 Habits' book.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Most of us do not listen with the intent to understand. We're usually speaking or intending to speak. When we listen differently - with the intent to understand - we listen with our ears, with our eyes, and with our hearts. We listen for feeling and meaning. We sense, we intuit, we feel. We focus on receiving the deep communication of another human soul. Stephen Covey, excerpt
today i can't even recreate the experience factually here. we were exploring Exodus 2, Moses' childhood and early adulthood, our childhoods, parental impacts, things learned by mimic and observation, the strength of doing over speaking. we moved on to examples of good people without faith in Christ. i forget the question that came next, an exploration of death and life, doing good versus faith, what does the Bible tell us? the response from behind me, poorly quoted here, 'hell will be full of good people' ... is probably not even close what was said. i don't remember because i wasn't listening, i was choosing instead to pounce with "Love Wins!" a reference to the work of Rob Bell and my faith that God has a bigger, more inclusive plan for broken humanity than 'turn or burn' ...

but that is not the THAT that was uneasy, difficult, exhausting.

THAT was what happened next: an invitation to seek to understand before seeking to be understood, to repeat what the other person had said, to engage with a tell-me-more approach rather than a dissertation of my own thoughts and beliefs. i was ill-equipped, unprepared, nervous ... feeling a little incompetent and grateful for the reprieve when Perry asked the other person to repeat himself. this time i heard something softer, in part because i was listening and in part because as he repeated, he phrased it differently.

'that was softer, he said it differently' were the words that eventually bubbled up from my heart, past the lump of fear in my throat.

THAT that was uneasy, difficult, exhausting ... a sprint on an unfamiliar trail.

later i would go over the experience with the person on this earth who knows me best and he would ask, was Perry picking on you? no. honestly, i admit it, i opened my mouth, raised my fist and invited THAT in the same way i'd been doing all my life ... the conversation was softened by a knowing nod and duet of laughter.

"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 
You need to persevere so that when you have done
the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." 


p.s. this verse found me this morning, displaying on BibleGateway when i turned on my computer, and my belief that nothing is random soothes the blisters of my disbelief

photo credit: Annie's Simple Life 

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