Something Should be Said

My designated time for writing this morning passed without a single word making it’s way to my computer screen.

For days, I have listened to people talk about the massacre at Newtown and I have been grateful for their eloquence and their grace.

During those same days, I have felt my stomach turn as others have belligerently talked of “rights” that are being challenged or of “rights” that need to be challenged in the political issues that invariably surface in times like these.

Still others have spoken of the deeper societal problems that gave rise to this tragedy and to other violent episodes. Mental health, school security, and family dysfunction are popular and trending topics.

Then there are those who quietly focus on the victims and the potential lost by lives cut short in a horrendous moment.

I watch all of this and I think, “Something should be said.”

But for the last five hours, I couldn’t come up with those words.

On Sunday, in another place, I wrote of an answer that speaks to my spiritual beliefs. And while I put great weight in that answer, I know that many who don’t share my beliefs find no solace there. To those people, something should be said.

To people who have suffered loss of loved ones and setbacks in life, something should be said.

To people who struggle to function because they are paralyzed by fear, something should be said.

Determined to say something, I have only three words . . .

  • “I will listen.”

Voices spring up all around us. Each and every individual is struggling to find a voice to express their frustration, their grief, and their indignation. That’s what I’ve been doing this morning.

And all that I can find to say is . . .

  • “I will listen.”

Listening involves waiting . . . giving space . . . analyzing content . . . savoring feelings. In a time of woundedness, focused and caring attention is needed. Listening is a balm that can soothe an anxious soul.

As we listen, we will hear angry words. We will hear good ideas. We will hear some of the most outrageous and hateful thoughts imaginable.

Sometimes, we will listen in silence . . . to silence.

clasped handsIn times like these, something should be said. Perhaps we should fold our hands and let our first words be . . .

“I will listen.”

 

The Better Understanding Project

I want to challenge you to do something radical.

Consider hearing more than you want to hear and seeing more than you want to see.

Commit to looking for the meaning in the words and behavior in those around you. Not for what you what you want to see or hear. But for what was meant.

Sometimes that’s as simple as asking, “What did you mean?” Often it’s more an exercise of trying to grasp what the other person is feeling.

My colleagues at the Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution want to help people learn those skills and encourage them to practice them. That’s why we are initiating the “Better Understanding Project.”

Over the next few months, we will be offering tips, techniques and motivational strategies for people who want to get beyond the inane arguments of politics, religion, and frankly, daily pettiness that seem to dominate our lives. There is a better existence — and it is available on every level of life.

Do you find yourself frustrated with family members or co-workers? Have you felt your blood pressure rise when you hear ideas and opinions that differ from yours? Are people becoming the object of your anger? Have you ever caught yourself in a rage over something and then realize you really don’t know the issues involved?

If you said “yes” to any of these questions . . . you are infected with a fairly large dose of normalcy.

But normalcy isn’t what most of us want for our lives. We want something higher and nobler and radical.

Consider the possibilities!

. . . . . . . . . .

Look for the “Better Understanding” logo. The Duncum Center is beginning some changes to its online presence, so you may run into some construction. So, for the time being, we will post the “Better Understanding” articles on both this site and on the Duncum Center blog site.

In the meantime, begin your own explorations of what it takes to better understand those around you. You’ll be surprised how much better you will be understood, in turn.

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