A little later today I will be going to gather a life story from a middle-aged lady dying of pancreatic cancer. She has had time to think about her past and wants to use it as a way of saying goodbye to her family and friends. I especially like to ask terminally ill people, “What would be your advice for young people today?” I will listen and learn.
In traveling many times to disaster areas of the world I have been repeatedly impressed with the thought,“We are here to help where we can, but we also want to learn from you.” This listening approach is necessary in truly bridging the gaps between all people. I have seen it work with foreign military generals, medical workers, hurting refugees, and tiny hungry chidren.
A local Klamath Falls man, in much distress, recently traveled a long distance to talk with another man whom he considered quite wise. Upon return he seemed very relieved. When asked, “Well, what did he tell you?” his response was. “Nothing. He just listened.”
When thinking of promoting peace and justice, I love the thought: “Listening is the oldest and perhaps the most powerful tool of healing.”
I ask myself, “Do I truly listen to those who think very differently than me?”
Contributed by Ken Magee, Klamath Falls Friends