Listen.  I mean really listen. Turn off the music.  Just sit and listen for a few moments.  What do you hear?  Water dripping.  Children playing?  The whisper of an overhead fan?  Distant traffic?  The wind in the trees?  A weed trimmer next door?  What were you thinking just now?  When you focused on the silence, did you hear your own thoughts?

I have a neighbor, Marty, who’s exactly my age.  Marty comes over to chew the fat now and then, and we get into some deep conversations.  The government has mosquito-size nanobots that spy on us.  Batteries are too heavy, so the nanobots are powered by cold fusion.  Aliens have already come to earth and live among us.  They’ve given the government cloaking technology.  There’s a demo on YouTube™ of a soldier leaning against a tank and becoming invisible!

I know that cold fusion isn’t likely to produce enough net energy to power a robotic mosquito.  I don’t like everything Marty says, but I like Marty. I listen carefully to what he has to say. I challenge him.  I debate him.  I raise issues.  I make it a point never to demean him.  Marty comes over a lot to talk to me because I accept him for who he is.

Is it a waste of time for me to talk to Marty?  Nope.  He presents ideas in ways I’ve not thought of.  More importantly, the time I take to listen to Marty and engage him makes Marty happy and self-confident.  I can see that in his eyes and in his smile.  Nope.  Listening to another person is never a waste of time.

Even in blog comments.

How about you?  Do you make time to listen to the quiet?  Do you take time to listen to your own thoughts?   Do you hear that still small voice from 1 Judges 19?  When your spouse or a friend talks, are you:  Judging?   Solving the problem?  Thinking what to say next?