The Sympathetic Listener never meant to get that name. It was given unexpectedly and received like the sixth box of Christmas chocolate. The Sympathetic Listener pulled the first piece of tape off the box of this gift in eighth grade when a friend came over to spend an afternoon.
“I was really looking forward to talking to you this afternoon,” confided the friend. “I knew that you would listen and give advice and not tell anyone about it.”
The Sympathetic Listener was flattered but also humbled, remembering the secrets spilled in the past and that would probably unintentionally spill in the future and hope they could live up to this friends expectations.
Time went along. The Sympathetic Listener wanted to learn to drive. Independence is a must for maturity. The in-car instructor was a man of square build and Middle Eastern descent. He talked about his mom and how she was proud of him and wanted him to do what is right. He talked about how he eats bad food (drive through often) but works out at the gym for a couple hours every night. He confessed that he drinks sometimes and his mom would not be happy if she knew. The Sympathetic Listener began to feel like a Catholic priest receiving a confessional–but no penance was paid.
Time moved along. During a summer of study, The Sympathetic Listener met a dear person, who she dubbed Eeyore. (And Eeyore actually liked the name.) Eeyore found study difficult and needed lots of encouragement to stay positive. The Sympathetic Listener gave lots of encouragement and asked questions. Eeyore felt comfortable to share what made life so hard, and The Sympathetic Listener understood and sympathized even more.
The Sympathetic Listener met another dear person, who had just gone through a courtship break up. Wanting to help, The Sympathetic Listener wrote out a little poem and gave it. Conversation opened up as the dear person confessed jealousy of The Sympathetic Listener ‘s skill with wise words. The Sympathetic Listener acknowledged that it was a gift and realized that fewer words would be needed in the future. Then this dear person spoke ecstatically of the students taught that year who had struggled and finally learned! The Sympathetic Listener completely understood.
A couple days later, the lady beside The Sympathetic Listener on the plane awoke and wanted to talk. The cheap complimentary wine had loosened her tongue. She told about her two children at home and her dreams for them. She talked about a husband who had given her everything she wanted except his heart and leadership and about meeting up with him now in Vietnam. She confessed not missing him when he went ahead of her and confided that there was a man at work interested in her, but she tells this co-worker over and over that this is not the right thing to do. Then, she shows The Sympathetic Listener videos of her children playing piano and splashing in the pool.
The Sympathetic Listener daily listens to stories of scraped knees, lost teeth, lost parents and missing keys among other maladies and life happenings.
Often weariness steals close. The Sympathetic Listener wonders, “How can I keep caring and listening? What can I do to fix all these problems? Is anyone ever going to listen to me?”
THE Listener whispers that His ears are ever open and that it is more blessed to give then to receive. It is more blessed to listen and understand than to be listened to and understood. Therefore, The Sympathetic Listener talks to THE Listener about the problems of the world, and He listens.
He also sends other sympathetic listeners to listen to The Sympathetic Listener when words gush forth.