“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words” (Rachel Naomi Remen)
Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing” (Rachel Naomi Remen).
I originally intended to go with one or the other, but I couldn’t choose. I picked both.
I believe that active listening and welcoming silence are the two best ways we can connect with others. In evangelism, we earn the right to be heard by first listening, not to respond but to understand.
In the story of Job, the best decision his friends made was when they sat and wept with him in the dust. The worst was when they decided to open their mouths and “fix” Job’s problem.
May that be a lesson to us all.