Learning to listen

A brown and black striped kitten waltzed into my bedroom tonight, unannounced. She came in through the balcony on her tippy toes. Ears perked. Eyes wide and darting. I didn’t even notice I was in her presence until she was right here next to me, waiting for what I’d do.

Sometimes people come into your life this way. Observers. Perchers. Tippy toers. They sit on your window sill or stand in your door way, waiting to see what you’ll do. They’re fascinated by you, and often you’re captivated by them. You’ll possibly never understand how they do it. All that perching and waiting and watching.

What they’re really doing is more than most of us can do. What they’re doing is what I never do. It’s listening.

Listening is such patient perfection. It’s unannounced. It’s non-expectant. It’s filled with humility and grace.

That’s probably why I’m horrible at it. I’m always busy announcing things and expecting ego-inflating remarks in return. I wonder if there’s a way to learn the art of listening. Is it a practice makes perfect violinist type of art? Or is it more my six year old child replicated a Van Gogh overnight type of art? Is it learned or innate? Can we teach it? Can (should) we measure our success upon it?

When I yelped in confusion at the furry foreign animal walking around my bedroom, she ran away. But I wish she’d of stayed. Maybe if I had just listened.

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