A Lesson in Listening

June 26, 2017

My inspiration tank has been low lately.  I’m assuming that it probably has something to do with me not having much time to think about things other than who needs to be fed, put to bed or out the door.  Save for an hour at church on Sunday and perhaps an adult conversation sprinkled in there, my brain often feels like it’s been depleted of all topics that are stimulating and interesting.  Call me crazy, but I actually enjoy introspection and discussing interesting topics other than what kid drove me nuts today and why.  In this season of life, there isn’t much time for that.

There has been a common thread weaving through my days, however.  I’ve felt compelled to practice listening.  This is ridiculous, right?  Practice listening?  But, if you think about it, listening is a skill.  Especially in this day and age.  I only know a handful of good listeners.  I personally come from a long line of VERY opinionated people.  And opinionated people rarely keep their opinions to themselves.  I’m emotional.  I’m a sharer (hello, blog).  I’m a straight shooter and a bad pretender.  Hence, the need for me to practice listening.

Everything around me just feels so noisy lately.  It often feels like everyone is shouting, both literally (my house is NEVER quiet) and figuratively.  I feel the need to be more mindful of what’s going on around me, not necessarily in my own whirlwind of a life.  A part of my listening practice is stepping outside of my own noise, quieting myself and hearing what’s going on around me.

One of my sweet friends moved away last fall.  She’s been such an inspiration (not to mention amazing friend) to me.  Life has been really tough for her and her family this past year.  Yet through it all, she would text every couple weeks and ask about ME.  How I was doing.  How she could be praying for ME!  At first, it made me feel guilty that here was this friend of mine going through a rough patch in life wanting to pray for me and stuff that I was dealing with.  But, the more I thought about it, I realized that I shouldn’t feel guilty, I should feel inspired.  It felt like God was using her to poke at me a bit.  That maybe I needed to step outside of my chaos at times.  Maybe I need to step back and listen to what’s around me.  Instead of contributing to the noise, perhaps me being a little less selfish and focused on my life, would give me a little more perspective and a lot more compassion.

As an emotional person, it can be hard for me at times for me to step outside of how I feel about something.  But, the more I get outside how I feel about things, the more I am able to listen intently to others and recognize that shocker, everyone is different!  I mean we all have problems, right?  We all have issues in our relationships, whether it’s a friendship, a marriage, a family member, a kid.  Becoming a better listener always helps facilitate when there are issues.  Stepping outside how I feel, stepping outside what I would do in a given situation, stepping outside of my hurt and frustration, to listen and try to see a different point of view allows me to walk away with a different perspective.  And my friends, perspective is everything.  And better yet, a more sympathetic, multi-faceted perspective is even better.

This theme has been echoing in my head these past few months.  As I step back from my own little bubble of life, observe, listen and let all this marinate, I’m finding myself appreciating what I’m discovering.  I think our world could use a little more listening and lot less noise.

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This is Elena. Our Light. You can see all the goodness and joy that shines from those deep blue eyes. She loves sneezes, yawns, industrial toilet flushes, automatic paper towel dispensers and The Star Spangled Banner. Music is her everything, specifically Moana, Frozen (really all Disney), Queen & Taylor Swift. Nothing makes her squeal quite like swimming, fast boat rides and her two brothers in trouble. In addition to her megawatt smile, Elena reminds us to cherish the smallest of victories, to live in the present, and to daily dwell in a posture of gratitude for every breath and every blessing.  

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I’m Emmalee, an ordinary gal born and raised in the Heartland. Wife to Chad, and Mom to Elena, Calvin & Turner, I spend most my days ridin’ dirty (literally so much trash) in my minivan carting kids to and fro. When I’m not being a Momager, I excel at self-care, cooking gourmet meals my kids won’t eat and deep-diving all the feelings. Most days, my attitude is gratitude, just taking life one step at a time.

Emmalee & Elena

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