Listening is not waiting for your turn to talk.
On November 9th, our country will be just as divided as it is today – if not more so. There will be gloating and blaming and excuse-making. Whomever wins will be handed the monumental responsibility of trying to pull everyone together, although it might feel too onerous a task even to try.
But I hope she/he will try. (It’s something to start praying for.)
The enormous divides between us – whether the issues are related to socio-economic, racial/ethnic, political, or educational differences – can only be healed by listening and learning. But most of us are terrible listeners.
- Somebody says something that makes me feel uncomfortable so – instead of really listening and trying to understand – I jump in to refute it.
- Somebody says something that makes me angry so – instead of really listening and trying to understand – I respond in anger myself.
- Somebody says something that deeply hurts me so – instead of really listening and trying to understand – I shut down or run.
I’m talking here about the tough but important conversations that we need to have with each other about who we are and what we’ve experienced and why healing is essential before moving on. I’m talking about thoughtful sharing so that we can learn and understand.
There are restorative justice circles in schools doing this. There are national truth and reconciliation groups doing this.
My hope is that the Church will also be willing to lead in a listening revolution. Imagine being will to hear each other – as tough as this will be – so that we can find healing and work together for good.
There’s talk about “revolution” following the election, and it sounds ugly and violent. What if we traded that for a listening revolution?
Are we willing to listen to people whom we don’t understand (and maybe haven’t even wanted to understand?)
Image source here.