I’ve been working my way through a book that has done something incredible in my life.
It has dried up my words.
And, honestly? I’m okay with that.
Reading Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman, has been life-altering. My brain, and by extension, the mouth that’s connected to it, have experienced some blissful radio silence. I’m not even going to try to guess the number of people around me, who also consider this new frequency blissful.
I’m a gap-filler, you see. If there is a lull in conversation, I’m your girl. When the small talk at a party dwindles, I jump right in. In the midst of an awkward situation and not sure what to say next? Count on me!
Usually, these aren’t necessarily bad things.
But sometimes, they aren’t really good things, either.
The abundance of words that accumulates within me doesn’t actually mean that I need to voice every single one of them.
Amen? (Not you, Nana. We all know you’re saying “AMEN!”)
Not much is added to a filling-the-gap moment that is true, noble, right, pure, or lovely. Certainly not much is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. So, what exactly am I adding to conversations?
That is the ultimate question I’ve been asking myself, lately.
For the first time in probably ever, I see that many of my words aren’t attaching anything of benefit to the discussion. And, that’s not to discount the meaningful chats I have with people I care about. Nor does it mean that I need to throw out the fun back-and-forths I might have with friends and acquaintances.
It is, however, a fantastic reason to do a lot more pausing before piping up. It’s also a great reason to do a little more listening with those two ears of mine and a lot less talking with that one mouth.
The more listening I do, the more I see what I haven’t seen as my lips were moving. The hurting neighbor. The angry relative. The hesitant friend. There are hearts that I am hearing, that I’ve never even known were trying to talk.
Allow my inner 80’s teen to re-emerge, please? DUDE!
There is no small beauty in a heart that is finally heard.
Don’t we all know this to be true? What relief, what joy, what profound satisfaction in our souls when some beautiful ear finally bends to hear?
Maybe the most amazing thing of all is that as I speak with more grace, which means more listening before speaking, my friendships will deepen. Friends that I long to connect with – deeply hear from and be heard by – will appear.
How do I know?
Even The King.
I don’t know about you, but, I want The King for my friend.