Hello, Are you there?  I hate to admit it, but that is what my daughter asked me last week as she was trying to tell me about the craft she wanted to purchase at the craft store ,all the while I was lost in my own little ” to do list” in my mind.  Her tugging on my sweater  snapped me back into the reality that I had not heard a word she had just said.  I quickly apologized, looked her in the eye and this time listened to the creative project she enthusiastically was explaining to me.  We purchased the materials and I added a candy at the check out line to help with the guilt.

Too often we listen with our mind preoccupied.  Have you ever talked to your husband and the whole time he is talking you are figuring out your response?  Not really active listening, right?  The act of being present in conversation is a skill that is dying all around us.  We see it all the time as kids are engaged with their electronics, adults sometimes even worse ( remember the lady who walked into the fountain at the mall as she was texting and walking).  Who is your favorite person to meet and have coffee with?  The friend who looks you in the eye and listens and conversation goes back and forth and before you know it several hours have passed, or would you rather meet a friend who is preoccupied with texting and answering her cell  phone every time it rings.  I prefer the caring and engaged friend.  I know my husband, kids, family, and friends prefer that too.

Each of us needs a forum where we can express without censor ,our dreams, our fears, and our fun crazy ideas.  We need people in our lives who will listen to our rants, to our silly jokes, and who will make us feel that what we have to say has value.  One thing I look forward to every week is my Thursday afternoon phone call from my Dad.  We started this tradition years ago when I moved to Indiana for a short time.  It was our way to stay connected and for me to share with him what all the grandkids were doing.  My Dad still calls every Thursday without fail even from far away places when he and my Mom are traveling.  I know every Thursday that no matter what kind of day I have had,  I can share that with my Dad. He will listen and then most times he will share a very corny joke.  Communication at its best !

As I mentioned earlier, too often we listen with our mind preoccupied with our own response.  But when communication – the real connection – takes place, it is wonderful.  I encourage you this week to really communicate with the people in your life.  Be engaged.  Most of all, communicate with your Heavenly Father, He always listens !

Colossians 4:6   Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.   NIV