When was the last time someone properly listened to you? When someone really heard what you were saying? I wonder how that made you feel?
When we know that another person is properly listening to us we feel valued and significant, even if the listener may not agree with our point of view. It is estimated that in the UK 1.2 million people aged over 50 have very limited social contact, and the impact this has on their emotional well-being is profound.
I often find that people start conversations with me whether I’m wearing my clerical collar or not, and the moment they know I’m really engaging, it is extraordinary how deeply they will share. And the benefit is not one way either, for to truly listen to another’s heart is to be more truly human.
In a society where so many people express themselves through Tweets and Facebook comments, surely it’s not the ‘followers’ that people are really seeking, but actually someone who will genuinely listen. I wonder who might need you to listen to them this week.
The Rev RICHARD COLDICOTT
St Mark’s Church, Horsham