I've always been a Talker.
My mom has, stashed away on stacks and stacks of VHS tapes, home videos of my talking.
The time I hosted a cooking show. The time I gave a tour of Grandma's garden. The time I directed a neighborhood play based on my all-time favorite movie, Hook. I've led Bible studies, I've sung from stage, I've even managed to find a way to send my thoughts through cyber-space with this blog.
And all the while, I've known that I've needed to listen more.
To be fully present when someone else is telling their story.
To ask questions that lead to more insight into the Other Talker's life.
To find increased appreciation for the opinions, life-experiences and values of the Other, without interjecting my own conclusions or related stories.
Last week was a grand experiment in the April-Needs-To-Listen-More-Project.
On a blue and green plaid couch, outside of Starbucks on creaky wrought iron chairs, in my dining room over pumpkin spice lattes, and later armed only with tap water,
I listened to the stories of four different women.
One with a heart-breaking journey through infertility. One with a brave story of following Jesus as a single woman. One whose happy-family-ever-after was tragically transformed in a weekend, launching her into the unknown territory of single motherhood. One who wrestled with God over dreams deeply rooted in her soul to discover a step or two closer to their fulfillment.
I want to invite you to listen, too.
I channeled my inner Nina Totenburg (NPR journalist) and recorded, with permission, each conversation.
And I'm now in the process of transcribing them. They're part of an upcoming women's breakfast for the ladies at my church, Church at the Bay, and I'd like to give you the opportunity to be encouraged, inspired and challenged as well. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to request to receive these conversations as email, which will be sent out starting on October 11.
As much as talking helps me process this world, I'm finding that listening is a far greater force for growth.
Would you like to join me?