Listening is an art form. When two people hear and listen and understand, there is no better connection. But it is hard to accomplish. It takes discipline. It takes suspending selfish needs and refraining from interjection of personal footnotes. I find that I am a much better listener to adults. I have always considered myself more of an adult person than a kid person. So I find it easier to listen to the complex stories of my adult friends and family than to the younger concerns of children.
But a little while ago, I learned about the concept of being truly present. This means completely tuned in and present in mind and body with the person, usually one of my children, with whom I am spending time. This requires putting aside pressing to-do lists and tasks to be completed and simply turning my attention and thoughts to the person I am talking with. This is a marvelous concept. Being present with my kids as they tell me about the details of their thoughts and life is one of the goals I have. Being present with Erik as he tells me about work or soccer coaching or helping others in our church is what I want to be.
When I feel listened to and understood, it helps me feel whole and valued. I get this in a few places. One is in prayer as I pour out my heart and wait for the desired answers or confirmations. And I often get this from Erik as he listens so well to all the musings and wrestlings of my heart. It draws us closer. It adds to the feeling of love I receive from him. It helps me feel worthwhile.
Being present with all people — in the store, in the neighborhood, in my home, in heaven. A goal and aim for my life.