One of the greatest gifts I have experienced being in a recovery program is the gift of women who listen without trying to “fix” me. Though I’m not a big fan of rules, one of the small group guidelines states “We are not here to fix one another. God is the fixer.” The gift of people who listen has helped me find the voice that I locked in a dungeon long ago.
I love what Henri Nouwen says about listening:
Listening as Spiritual Hospitality
To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.
Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.