This is going to be an excellent year
So, I just got back from a trip to San Jose and Redding where I reconnected with some friends, met people from several countries, and Cooked up a Storm Saturday night.
~ it was something.
I kept meeting and connecting with folks from Switzerland who kept inviting me to Switzerland. It was like God was saying – hey, I got a bag packing adventure for you in the Swiss Alps if you are interested.
In due time Jesus…in…due…time!
But most of all….I MISSED YOU GUYS….! It was just for a week, but it felt like a thousand…years…
I just got back. I drove for 10 hours with some two cool and weird ladies who jammed to my Old Skool collection, yo. Wooo…freaked me out.
I’m okay…don’t panic.
On the trip last week with friends, one of my friends, Maria, took a risk. A BIG ONE. She shared the pains, difficulties, struggles, and hardships she was facing in trying to navigate her late twenties without close friends and an understanding community.
I could understand that. Its not easy finding friends in your late 20’s. Its difficult to date if you have standards. Its even more difficult when most of your friends are in different states. And painful when you are in a community but find it hard to become a part of that community.
You know, things some of you can relate to.
Well, Maria’s story was met with a current of brutal honesty, facts, and counsel which were ALL lacking in one thing – EMPATHY (Love and Understanding). And boy did it erupt into a minor argument of – spirituality.
And where was I?
When I heard the answers Maria was getting, I cringed and whispered to myself –
Oh man. Guys, you don’t get it. You are not listening. She just wants to be heard.
Why did I say that? Coz –
If laughter is the best medicine, then being heard, be listened to, is the second best medicine there is.
I was so mad, I called them – jerks.
Okay…in my head.
I was like, stop being jerks. For human logistics sake –
When people are being vulnerable with you, don’t give them advice, unless they specifically ask your advice. You will know to do so if they say something like,
What do you think? or What should I do?
If folks think you don’t “understand” how they really feel or the reason for trusting you, you lose them in discussion. And even if your counsel is helpful, it falls on deaf ears. Though emotions are irrationale, they are powerful and one can’t underestimate that.
Be fast to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger – (James 1:19)
On the other hand, if someone simply opens up to you and does not add the phrase (e.g. what do you think I should do) at the conclusion of their tale, that’s a clue. It means – I NEED SOME LOVE. JUST HEAR ME OUT!
Better yet, ask yourself,
Why is this person telling – ME – this story, and why is this person telling me this story – RIGHT NOW? Why ME and NOT SOMEONE ELSE? Yes, even though I am a stranger.
As a general rule, in order to listen well, I am learning how to –
Listen with three ears:
- Listen once to hear what IS said
- Listen again, to hear what IS NOT being said
- Listen once more, to discern *what needs to be said*.
Even if *what needs be said* amounts to – SHUT UP! listen, and say nothing.
When people open up to you, especially with their vulnerabilities –
Love them and protect their trust and dignity in that moment of weakness. Help them feel heard. That is the best way to love them.
No matter how talented we are, to succeed well in depth and breath, understanding and navigating our way through the human dynamics of things is key. Focus on the well being of the people.
That was my trip. I hope this week is a trip too. Its looking like it already. Wishing you all a week full of good health and prosperity.
One Love, One Spirit