Sometimes we are THE LISTENER.
Sometimes we are THE TALKER.
Mostly, I talk. Sometimes, I listen. And those are the times I LEARN.
Had a solid 45 minute listening sermon with a friend, who although highly Christian and religous (which I forgive him for... *grins*) I still commend as being a person dedicated to personal growth and inner development. He is one of those rare, real people that sees forest and not trees. And he's one of those people who will put it all out there, willingly, unabashedly, without fear of someone finding fault and without finding fault in you.
I have met only a few Christians capable of this in my lifetime. I am instead, unfortunately, experienced with the ones that feel they have the right to "BE GOD" and judge you, send you to hell, let you know you are going there, wag fingers, chastise and berate your life experiences and choices. I have no time or need for this- never had. Typically when I hear people say that "they are Christian", I tune out completely for this reason, expecting the judgement and The Universal Rules That Apply To All Christians to be spouted like a laundry list. If there is a God, I'll take my chances. I'll chit chat with him/her in The End and we'll talk over our differences of opinion. If he or she is the asshole you make God out to be, I've no use for the Christian God. I'll work through the gnashing teeth, wailing and whatever else you determine is apparently equivalent to HELL. Personally I think a few years of working retail already covers me...
I remember, when I was small, feeling less like a kid and more like a commodity when it came to how we were raised religiously speaking. My dad's side (mom and aunt) apparently wanted us raised differently than the Anglican United Church we attended from age 5 to 13. I still do not know what was "wrong" with this church, or sect of Christianity, but apparently it wasn't good enough for them.
When I was about 4 or 5, on a very rare occasion I visited my Nana (dad's mom) in her small old house in Vancouver (Slocan?) with my family. When mom and dad were distracted, she would slip "Jesus Saves" pamphlets inside my poncho for my mom to find later. I didn't understand it and still don't really. Were we not already saved?! Weren't we going to church!? WTF, what more is there?!! Then when I faced puberty around age 12, she gave me some weird "How I Was Made" Christian book that explained mommies and daddies and babies. Omg. Gag. Like I appreciate your interest in my life changes but seriously? Keep Jesus out of my uterus, my cycle and my 12 year old embarrassing body. Ever since I have hated Christians.
Anyhoo, before I get all bothered about Marketers for Jesus and I initiate a dispute between those that believe and I that do not, my POINT is that we are all, as my friend so greatly says, "DOING LIFE".... We are all "doing life", I love that saying. It is a sentence that we are all handed... Caged in this existence, we all have a journey, we all have lessons, we all have moments and situations that teach us things. I have to appreciate that whatever my Nana apparently felt she had to save us from, she tried in whatever small way she could. I have to appreciate that because it obviously meant enough to her to do it again and again despite my mom and dad disputing it. Your truth may not be my truth but it is A truth and worth listening to, so thank you for sharing it whether I agree with it or abide by it. I appreciate that it matters to you that much.
Today when someone comes and talks to me for 45 minutes about their life and their beliefs, I need to share and listen and appreciate that we are very similar in our journeys, yet different in a few major spots that rule our worlds. But regardless of our varying viewpoints about WHO is in control of our lives, I greatly value the dialogue and exchange. I still GET where he is at, and I wish for him nothing but healing and development. Whatever that means to him.
Sometimes we have to talk, sometimes we have to listen. I'm really glad we had this talk. And thanks for listening.