“I’ve been listening for a year and a half.
Listening to the sounds around me that started foreign and have become familiar. Listening to how my new friends describe the happenings around me and the meaning behind the holidays we celebrate in Nepal.
I constantly gather information, storing as much as my heart and mind can hold.
I haven’t spoken a lot. I think there are still some people who don’t realize I speak their language fairly well. I suppose I’ve gotten into the habit of just being, taking in all that is around me.
I’ve come to realize that’s not so bad a habit.
I’ve learned so much in the listening.
I’ve left room for others to share their hearts with me as I process what has been said and offer little in return save the listening. For fear of embarrassing myself in my language inadequacies, I avoid saying too much, but it turns out saying little is sometimes a gift.
It’s a gift to me, peacefully pondering all the words I’m trusted with, and quietly storing them in my heart. It’s saved me from turning conversations towards myself when they aren’t about me at all. It has allowed me to savor the sweet words, interpreted but not interrupted by my urge to punctuate the silence with quick drawn response.
It’s a gift to the speakers. They know I try to understand and take in all the meaning just to be nearer to knowing them. While often my listening is laced in a desire to learn and understand this language, the end result is the learning and knowing of another person.
Certainly that is a gift to us both.
Those who know me in my home country and in my first language may be surprised with how quiet I have become in a room full of people, how little attention I draw to myself. I still remember a high-school teacher referring to me as the girl who entered a room mouth first.
That’s not me anymore.
I’ve been freed from my big mouth to open ears. The space of listening is a home I’ve grown to love.”
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God (James 1:18-20).