Friday, 15 January 2010

Could you just listen?

A very very belated happy new year to you - the crazy winter seems to be over, actually saw some green stuff on the ground today. This will be my first post of the 'onesies' and I hope you find it interesting.
At the moment I'm just trying to sum up my short experience of being being part of the Street Pastor movement, for a talk in church tomorrow (check the link if you've never heard of SP's). I was searching through some of the notes taken during the training course and I thought this poem, about listening, really summed it all up. I sometimes get frustrated by not being able to help out, but I'm realising that the best thing I can do most of the time is to simply listen - it's amazing how many people come up to us who just want to share their story. I've learned that it really is a privilege to be trusted to share complete strangers struggles. We don't have all the answers but just being there can make a world of difference.
Enough of me, check out the poem (no idea how old it is)-

Could you just listen?
"When I ask you to listen and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems, you have failed me - strange as that may seem.
Listen! All I ask of you is that you listen, not to talk or do, just hear me. Advice is cheap.
When you do something for me that I can, and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and inadequacy: but when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel no matter how irrational, then I ca stop trying to convince you to get down to the business of understanding it.
Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what's behind them. And when that's clear, the answers are obvious and I don't need advice. Perhaps that's why prayer is so important for some people - God listens and stays with us but doesn't give advice all the time or try to fix things. god listens and gives us the power to work things through for ourselves, but I need you to be there with me too.
So please, just listen. If you want to talk, wait a few minutes for your turn and I'll listen to you."

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