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Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak

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The echo of a loon's call, summer thunderstorms, and hummingbirds swishing past were sounds that filled our days at the lake. Added to nature's divine orchestra were squeals of excitement when a fish bit, the glee of children's play and splashing water, and teenagers on phones with friends or streaming their favorite clips. Each distinct melody and harmony came together to form the symphony that surrounded us as we spent time with grandchildren last month.

We nurtured relationships, had our patience tested, and shared lots of love. We worked at being intentional about listening. We learned to bite our tongue, to encourage personal expression, and discern what was truly being communicated. We negotiated differences, instilling respect and showing unconditional love. It was work!

It is an art to be an active, open listener. We can too easily be quick to judge or pursue our own conversational agendas. It is challenging to entertain another's opinion and truly hear and recognize their truth. Whether those gathered to listen surround the church council table or the dining room table, developing the skill of active listening honors each other. Too often, raised voices and our quickly formed judgments get in the way of being able to hear, understand, and resolve conflict. The book of Proverbs put it this way: "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." (Proverbs 18:2)

As we seek to deepen our relationships and walk with one another through grief, loss, conflict, change, and challenge, may we seek to listen to the deep needs and pains of one another. We are called to love unconditionally, with an open heart, seeking to understand, to respect, and to listen!

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mother and daughter talking on a dock

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Portico Customer Care Center

Phone 800.352.2876

mail@PorticoBenefits.org


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