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Opportunity for Kindness? Listen!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, June 28, 2014

free to be happy

Opportunity for Kindness? Listen!

I know I’ve spoken about my active listening skills in this space, previously. I’ve even joked a bit about being a “professional listener.” That’s what sometimes happens when a person is in my profession. First, as a chaplain. Now, as a pastor. (My therapist and I have talked about it, at length, and it’s happened often to us both. We’ve talked about it, several times. As have a chaplain friend and I.)

People don’t even need to know what I do for a living. They simply come up to me and start talking. It’s true! I am not even joking.

Today was a great example. I volunteered to take a good friend to the airport, early in the morning. On the way back, I decided to go straight to the YMCA. After a thorough workout, I was leisurely getting dressed in the locker room. Sure enough, a woman—a little younger than I was—started to talking to me, almost non-stop. Lovely woman, wearing such a pretty blouse. I had never met her before, and she and I had not even exchanged names. Yet—this woman soon was telling me some intimate details of her life and the lives of several of her loved ones. And—it didn’t stop there.

Two more people just came up to me later in the morning, and started pouring out their lives to me, too. I handled this with some aplomb, as well as personal kindness and interest. Yes, people do periodically come up to me, and tell me lots of things. And—this is the important part—the three people today? I do not believe anyone had let them know about my profession before these chance meetings. And all three of these new people? I hope that I helped them.

I didn’t even need to open my mouth: that’s how ready to share these three individuals were. And me? I realized that a priinted conversation was also a way to display the verse for June, too: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 )

Again, I didn’t do a thing. God, thanks for making each of us in such a unique way. Yet, You provide for each of us to have that safety valve, that way of talking to God (vertically) and to other human beings (horizontally). And especially, thank God for giving us Yourself, offering Yourself in such a selfless, loving way. Such an example for everyone!

Thanks again, God. Appreciate it.


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