active-listening click to visit

I’ve read several blogs where the author “warns” the reader of an upcoming “religious post”… Why do people feel the need to warn or apologize about a post with religious content on THEIR BLOG? I’d think that if it goes against my beliefs I’d just continue on to the next post in my reader, right?!

Anyway, if any of you out there went to Sunday mass yesterday, … Oh, I do need to apologize for my ignorance about world religions and how stuff works over at your church/house of worship/temple/etc… I am Catholic, so yesterday, the gospel reading at my church was a very short one that has special significance to me:

Gospel LK 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”
I read it and I get all teary eyed because it reminds me of my grandmother. This anecdote I’m about to tell you, I can’t seem to remember who first told it to me, my mother or my grandmother…anyway, my grandmother was a very religious person, she could have been a nun, except that she had 7 children…

My Mami, used to go every morning to 7 a.m. mass, I have no idea how she managed to leave the house and get to her daily mass. I am rarely on time for anything, my TWO children always seem to keep me from being punctual. (yeah, blame the children!)

Of course, her absence did not go unnoticed, her husband, my grandfather (who I did not have the honor of meeting) would often tell her, in the most neutral tone of voice he could muster, “Rosa, obligation first, devotion last” . You can imagine the man being left at home for a whole hour with seven children just waking up with the wife nowhere to be found…the story goes that once, one of my aunts, being very young suddenly appeared by my grandmother’s side in mass still wearing her pjs, she had escaped from home looking for her mom only to find her at her most sacred hiding place: the neighborhood church…

Up to yesterday, this gospel had meant that to me: nothing is more important or should come before God…and in a way it is true, however, the priest at yesterday’s service gave it a whole new twist for me and this is why I am talking about religion…it has everything to do with all of us, beliefs aside…

You see how Martha expressed a bit of resentment at Mary, her younger sister, not helping her tend to Jesus who was there on a visit…and Jesus tells her that Mary has chosen the best part… Jesus is not being arrogant here, he is just stating a fact…

How do you react when visit arrives unexpectedly? Yeah, depends on who’s visiting, but mostly, at least I do, I get all rattled and anxious and try to put together a nice tray of hors d’oeuvre, find some crackers, fill the ice trays, make some coffee…awful, right?!
(of course, there are other times, right sister-friend Cristy, when we just sit and chat until she asks me for something to drink, I just get all caught up in the conversation I forget my manners, sorry sweetheart!)
But, we never stop to consider what the guest might need… Maybe the guest is just coming from having a huge lunch or on his way to one, maybe he’s just thirsty or, maybe, indeed is expecting a cold beer and a snack…

Meanwhile, you were consumed with resentment at your spouse/sibling/roommate plus you just wasted all your time and energy trying to please someone who wasn’t expecting much more that a nice visit and a chat with a friend, a shoulder to cry on, a friendly ear that would listen for a bit, some good advice…

God only knows,



The one that sat with the friend got

“the better part and it will not be taken from her.” 

Listen when someone comes to you, don’t jump to the conclusion that they are there to be served or to hear you talk… as the priest reminded us: sometimes your child only wants to be heard and is not up for being preached to, or your spouse just wants to think out loud to organize his thought, to re-strategize; your friend needs to hear him/herself say something that has been on his mind but needs the courage to confront it…

This was such a huge wake up for me…and talk about synchronicity, I had been finding posts and quotes here and there about the importance of being a good listener and how it outweighs being a good speaker in all types of relationships, from family to work…

Does this make any sense to anyone else out there?
Hugs people 😉

13 responses to “READ & THINK…about LISTENING

  1. Open ears and open eyes… we even have them in pairs. Better use them properly! Have a beautiful evening and Wednesday dawning, my dear Alexandra! 🙂

  2. Thank YOU for “listening” to me…I think we do know how to listen we just have to be mindful of it… I think that bloggers, like us, listen
    with our eyes and with our hearts, given that our relationships here are virtual and the voice of the author is our own in our minds, so lets remember that when there’s a real person in front of us… Big hug

  3. Lovely reflection, Alexandra. I am trying really hard to stop and just listen, but – boy do I have to work HARD at it! I love the story about your grandmother and your aunt – thanks for sharing.

  4. Oh Viveka, could that feeling be one of the reasons why we blog?! 🙂 if people don’t listen with both their ears maybe they can listen with their eyes, and if they don’t we don’t even feel it that much…big hug my friend

  5. Exactly, that is the whole point, that I got the message in Sunday mass has really little to do with anything, it was just easier to tell it like it was than to make something up just to get to the same point, thank you my friend 🙂

  6. OK, 🙂 got it, so just to avoid an uncomfortable moment, a “notice” at the beginning of a religious or political post is best…the two topics that have been known to put relationships at risk… 😉 Thanks Mati

  7. Maybe because some of how other people regard religion that it–at times–catches them off-guard.
    Or there’s too much bush-beating until it comes to the point that reader–who doesn’t want to read anything religious–could’ve skipped the post altogether but didn’t because he didn’t know it was.

  8. Thank you Teecee! So happy to read you. I am normally so distracted or caught up in my personal conversation with God when I’m in church but this scripture trapped me and the priest’s words set me on a new path 🙂

  9. Well said, my friend.
    It’s always better to listen than to assume.
    Serving a meal may sometimes be the right thing to do, but something else could be more needful.
    A listening ear makes all the difference.

  10. I think there is a place for us all .. doesn’t matter what we believe in or not believe … there is no wrong or right when it’s about our beliefs. Good listeners .. not many of them around – we are all to busy with our own stories to tell .. and nobody listens to them neither, not really … maybe with one ear.

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