God gave us one mouth and two ears, we should use them in proportion to each other…
I love engaging in conversation
I love the back and forth flow of words
I strive to understand
I strive to be understood
On my good days I’m curious and open-minded.
On my not-so-good days I’m stubborn and it’s more important to broadcast my views.
The year was 1987.
I was on a Greyhound bus with my best friend.
We were heading back east because her dad had passed away.
It was a 3 1/2 day drive.
That’s a long time but we managed to stay civil all the way there.
I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a bus across Canada without stopping anywhere to get a good night’s sleep and shower…
By the time we got to Kitchener, Ontario the bus was ripe with body odor.
We spent a few days there so my friend could be with her family and then continued on to Montreal, Quebec to visit with my folks.
When it was time to go back to Kamloops, British Columbia we’d become a little … well…sick of each other.
The 3 1/2 day bus ride back dragged on and felt like forever. We began to snap at each other over really stupid things.
Finally we didn’t want to sit together.
When we got back to our respective homes, we didn’t even want to speak to each other. This went on for 2 – 3 weeks.
During this time I gave some thought to our cross-country trip. How had it become such a disaster?
I mean seriously, the reason I went in the first place was to support my friend during a difficult time.
Why had I been such jerk?
I should have understood.
I should have shown a little grace.
I should have been more supportive.
I don’t remember who finally called who but we started talking again and I’m glad we did. We forgave each other and went on being friends even to this day some 20+ years later.
Today we joke about our ‘Bus Ride from Hell.’
A bus ride that taught me when I stop listening…
when I insist on broadcasting my opinion…
dialogue turns into monologue and relationships fall apart.
It’s a lesson I still have to remind myself of.
Sometimes I forget and am quicker to speak and slower to hear.
I’m not always true to who I am.
But as someone wise recently told me …
we all have our off days, so when you mess up just forgive yourself and try again.
So when I slip
I forgive myself
re-engage in the conversation
and become quick to listen and slow to speak.
God gave me two ears and one mouth – I need to use them in proportion to each other.
Do you struggle with using your ears and mouth in proportion to each other?