Learning to Listen

At Men’s Shed yesterday I chatted to a number of gents…

…Andy’s lives on his own; he’s lonely and depressed. He can’t see Darren, his young son… Darren’s mother won’t permit it. Darren’s stepfather (who Darren is told is his Dad) has already assaulted Andy and is threatening further violence…

…Keith’s off work. Recently he took a massive overdose and tried to take his life. Fortunately he was searched for and found. His mental health is still in a poor state. He has a wife and three children but is struggling…

…Brian has been active all his life. He has a heart condition and can scarcely walk to the end of the road. He’s impatiently waiting for surgery…

We’re told that we should be strong, independent, capable, confident, in control, youth-full, success-full, proud, achieving… By these criteria my friends are failures.

My faith challenges these values. My God hears the cry of the suffering, ‘the widow, the orphan, the foreigner…’. Jesus’ mission was ‘…to preach good news to the poor… to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed…’

Musing… Andy, Keith, Brian… their life experiences are different from mine… I understand my faith intellectually… positively discrimination supporting the different, disadvantaged, vulnerable, marginalised…

Rebekah Eklan, in ‘Practicing Lament’ calls us to listen intentionally to those who are different from us, acknowledging that it’s difficult:

‘For white people… it can be difficult to learn to listen to the voices of people of colour. For men it can be hard to hear the experiences of women when we describe how we’re harassed or interrupted or demeaned. For people who are straight, it can be a challenge to listen to the hurtful experiences of those who identify as gay or queer. For the privileged and wealthy, it can be hard to hear the voices of the marginalised and poor…’

Musing… I continue to seek to learn to listen… particularly, deliberately, to those different from me…

2 thoughts on “Learning to Listen

  1. Very interesting. It is easy to assume that we experience the world in the same way when we all can have very different realities.

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