We had a lot of snow in the recent weeks here in Ohio. I don’t particularly like the cold weather, but one thing I noticed when snow is falling, it is very quiet outdoors. Even in our suburban neighborhood, it is usually noisy with cars driving by, airplanes flying overhead, dog barking, etc.
When I was shoveling snow the other day, I became very aware of the silence outdoors. Cars driving by were going very slow and the sounds were muffled. I enjoyed that quiet time and even though the snow covered all my shoveling again, it fell so softly. It reminded me of this verse I found a while ago:
“We must be silent before we can listen. We must listen before we can learn. We must learn before we can prepare. We must prepare before we can serve. We must serve before we can lead.”
~ William Arthur Ward (American dedicated scholar, author, editor, pastor and teacher)
Some say listening in an art. It certainly is a skill which many have never learned. Listening is a ministry. It communicates love. When we care enough to listen, we validate another person's worth.
By listening to the falling snow I felt the love of the creator who covered the gray and barren grounds with a blanket of snow. It looks so pretty and clean, especially when the sun shines on it.
I read once about "Captain" Kirk Scherz from Boeing. He observed, "To be an exceptional listener we must be SILENT when the other person is speaking."
As he goes on to say, the secret to good listening can be found in the word "LISTEN." All you have to do is re-arrange the letters, and you come up with "SILENT."
And if you are willing to be silent once in a while, while others are speaking, Scherz says the rewards are enormous. He says, "You make the conversation rewarding, stimulating, motivating, and satisfying ... because in the final analysis every human being needs someone just to LISTEN to them."
Maybe these long winter days are a good opportunity to strengthen our listening skills and give someone our full ear.