I don’t know how people go through life without dogs. Two little, fat, four-legged old men follow me around the house all day long. What are you doing?, they say, tails wagging. When will you take a nap so we can nap? Can I help (by getting right under your feet)? Is that cheese? Can I have some? Rough paws and soft fur and sandpaper tongues and snoring and belly rubs and sitting right next to me, pressed against my legs, because they just want me to know that everything is okay and we are safe.
God made plain His existence when He created dogs.
Kate says: pause.
This unnerving video made the rounds this week:
Those sounds will probably haunt your dreams tonight. You’re welcome.
Many have pointed out that this video is illustrative of many internet conversations. Everyone screams, nobody is heard. I’d remove the word “internet” from that sentence. How often do you come away from talking with someone with the sense that you haven’t been listened to at all? That the other was so wrapped up in making a point or defending a position that he couldn’t see any validity in what you were saying?
It’s frustrating. Depressing.
In order to listen, we have to pause. Stop our mouths from running for just a moment (a Herculean task) and really let someone else’s words break into our minds. We may not agree with what they’re saying. We may even disagree so strongly that the less refined versions of ourselves would body-slam that person. But we have to pause. We have to give others the respect of hearing them out. Because we want it. We want to be heard. We want to know that others will take the time to listen.
Practice the pause in conversation. Lean forward a little. Pay attention to the words, the tone, the body language. Ask for clarification instead of making assumptions. Remind yourself that you don’t know everything and you can always learn from anyone with whom you interact. Give people the space to speak.
Because you need it, too.