This morning, I stopped to ask a question while I ran an errand. Just a quick question—that’s what I thought.
I asked for some papers I need later this month. My request seemed reasonable, but I received an unexpectedly terse response. “You don’t need that!” I was surprised and gently asked “Why?”
That question “unlocked the door,” unleashing the other person’s frustration.
And it poured out! It started as a response to my request, but quickly wandered off to a stream of other, seemingly unrelated topics—a lot of hurt.
What I heard made me stop and really listen. But I used more than the ears on my head. My “heart ears” listened too. They heard the pain of someone having a difficult day or week—some unknown time of sadness and difficulty.
I did not debate, take it personally, or try to correct it. I just witnessed the venting.
My interruptions were “That must have been hard.” and “Then what happened?”
After a few minutes, the monologue slowed down and abruptly ended. We paused a moment, and I remember saying “That must be difficult and challenging. I hope it gets better—soon.”
Before I left, I gently mentioned I would come back so we could talk again. We softly agreed to that. I hoped the person felt listened to, and maybe relieved.
I am grateful I listened with compassion today. I hurt sometimes too, and it is such a relief when someone just listens to me vent my pain, not trying to deny it or fix it. “Heart ears” are a wonderful gift to “put on” and use often. Please tell me what you think about “heart ears.”