“When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said no more.”
“How to Live Your Life” by
Two Women Who Knew What They Were Talking About!
5 Characteristics of Naomi – The Listening Mother – Part II
“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. You can see that when you think the friends that really listen to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius as
though it did us good, like ultraviolet rays.”
How much do I listen?
What does it mean to me when another person really listens to me?
Are there ways in which I may become a more considerate listener to others?
“With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing.”
Catherine de Hueck Doherty
“The first duty of love is to listen.”
Many years ago, when I was much younger and thought I knew so much, I happened on a rather humorous tidbit of information which enlightened me with the knowledge that God created each of us with one mouth and two ears. It seems we might come to the very astute conclusion that twice as much listening as talking was what God intended for us.
I do know one thing, as the years have flown by, less talking and more listening has become something I’ve found has kept me out of unwanted trouble on more than one occasion.
This past week, I was in a meeting with someone I had met once before and who I now was assigned to work with on a project. Instead of doing my usual, jump in with both feet Dorothy routine, I sat back in my chair, smiled politely and let this individual take over the conversation. In fact, she dominated the time we were together. However, by keeping my mouth shut and my ears open, I learned much more than I ever expected. And in hindsight, if the “talker” had taken time to reflect on all the information she had chosen to reveal, she might have thought twice about all she conveyed.
The hilarious Erma Bombeck, who always incorporated a great deal of wisdom and practicality in her writings penned these words: “It seems rather incongruous that in a society of super sophisticated communication, we often suffer from a shortage of listeners.” And I’d like to add that while our ability to listen is at first thought to be a function of our ears and auditory system, those who face speech or hearing disabilities are able to reveal to us the fact that “listening” doesn’t just have to be auditory communication, for some of the dearest people in my life have been those who understood what it was to listen with their hearts.
This is why I find the characteristic of listening to be of such value and so effectively portrayed in the life of Naomi.
In the very first chapter of Ruth, we find repeatedly that Naomi encouraged her daughters-in-law to return home to their families and friends. But there came a point, which our text today shares with us, when Naomi didn’t speak and instead she chose to listen. I like the way the New International Version of the Bible translates Ruth 1: 18, “When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.” A time came when it was more critical to listen to another person than talk to them. And thankfully, the mother, Naomi, understood this fact.
I’ve shared with you in the past that my grandfather was one of those long forgotten small town doctors who would make house calls out in remote desert spots and then in the summer go and work on a self-supporting mission launch on the Orinoco River. One particular year, he needed some extra help in his office so I worked as his nurse for several months. I’ll never forget thinking to myself one day, “Grandpa sure doesn’t talk a lot.” And so I questioned him. “Why don’t you ask your patients more questions?”
“Well,” he responded, “I learned a long time ago that if I would let my patients talk, I’d usually find out all I needed to know. And when they are finished, if there’s more information I need, having been quietly listening to them, they’re much more comfortable answering the questions I do ask.”
Some smart advice from a country doctor. The same advice we as women can learn from Naomi, or as someone said, “Blessed are those who listen, for they shall learn.”
“Someone to tell it to is one of the fundamental needs of human beings.”
“A Friend Who Listens”
“O teach me to pray, Lord.
Teach me to pray.
I need someone to talk to,
A friend who will listen,
I need hope,
What were those words I used to know?
‘You will find a solace there.’
Can He mean me, O Praise Him!
But what can I say?
O teach me to pray, Lord.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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