“Just listening to another person is a present to them"

“Just listening to another person is a present to them”

It is not always obvious that merely listening to another person, in person and giving them feedback letting them know they have been accurately heard without judgementalism, is a gift to the other person. Yet this was the underlying theme of the ten weeks of training I received to become a “Listener” for the Valley Hot Line, back in the mid-1970’s. And for the next two years I sought to practice it well, during my three-hour-long shifts once each week, as a volunteer in service of fellow mankind. I dreaded those three-hour shifts; and when each was done, I left shaken and yet resolute, duty done for another few days. Because other’s “stuff” was heavy-duty sometimes, and when it triggered similarities in myself, I had to deal with theirs while fending off my own internal shouts, and I went by the rules ... not always my personal choice. Yet the training for the experience of being a “VHL Listener” did bring into my awareness that mere attentive listening in two-way conversation with someone, is being a friend to them, a friend in need by them, especially when sifting out their underlying emotional feelings and politely reflecting that back to them, for their conscious awareness that “someone out there” knows of their struggles, and cares. To someone in need of a friend, paying attention to them in a reflective kindly way, can be the giving of a gift to them, indeed.

J E D Cline 20050526, 1838 hrs.

(Note: this was written in fulfillment of another Chuparosa Writers group exercise, to write about one of two phrases, the “Just listening to another person is a present to them" is the one I chose.)


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