05 Jul '10
Listening with our eyes
Recently one of my colleagues was spending time with his grandchildren while their parents were dealing with an emergency situation with another of their kids. My colleague was constantly on his cell phone (who of us is not?) dealing with his own work issues.
After a while one of his grand kids came up to him, turned his face with his hands so my colleague was looking him in the eyes and said. "Put that phone away. I want you to listen to me with your eyes!"
That was a profound statement from a youngster. He wanted his granddad's full attention, not distracted attention. He wanted him to hear him with his eyes - meaning that he was truly listening, truly paying attention, truly interested. And he knew that his granddad was not listening with his eyes.
On our second trip to Israel some years ago, we were eating breakfast in a hotel we had been in some years earlier. One of the waiters came up to our table and said to my wife, Mary Ann, you were here before! Why would he remember? Because Mary Ann looks people in the face and gives a wide smile when she greets them and she listens to them with her eyes. They don't forget.
One of the interesting comments in the gospels about Jesus is that He looked directly at people. He was fully engaged. He listened to them with His eyes. In doing so, he honored them and made it clear that he cared about them and connected with them.
How often do we only half engage and half listen. I for one am going to do better at listening with my eyes. From the mouths of little ones.....great wisdom.