This was prompted by a handful of memorable experiences, mainly when I was blabbering, and my listener was not.
[March 31, 2021 Update]
Recently, I have had many occasions to revisit this pleasant reflection. I have several friends who are considerably smarter and wiser than me. That’s not surprising. What IS surprising — and endearing — is the courtesy these friends extend me in conversation. When we’re talking, they don’t interrupt me, or they quickly apologize if they do. They sit there and LISTEN as I “think out loud” and then they have the patience to let time heal the wounds in my thinking. Such people, I can’t help but love and admire. God make me more like them!
[September 16, 2023 Update]
I often come away from conversations with my best friends amazed at their courtesy. They’re my best friends largely because they are smarter and wiser than me. I VALUE what they have to say. But because they are courteous, they generally listen without interrupting. These friends are the very people I wish would interrupt, but they don’t.
Yesterday, I had an encounter of a very different sort. I introduced myself to a patron at the library. We began what I thought was going to be chit-chat. But it turned into very little chit and a whole lotta chat. She had much to say. Every time I opened my mouth to comment, she’d say “Hold on!” and keep holding forth. After two or three such “zip-its” I literally put my finger on my lips so I wouldn’t be tempted to turn her diatribe into a conversation.
Since I didn’t really have anything I felt compelled to say, the whole thing amused me. I served her by listening… on her terms for sure.
Incidentally, the poem in this post was inspired by a conversation with my friend Sten-Erik Armitage. He was my pastor at the time. He’s still a friend to whom I sometimes send raw poems, when I fear posting them to the general public. Such a friend is priceless!