Reading time: two minutes. Painters fascinate me. I’m a natural Pointer. I don’t typically start sharing my story until I’ve had time to think about what I have to say. I also need to build trust before I share my story. Painters, on the other hand, are far more likely to just start talking when they have something to say. They’re typically much quicker to share their stories. That seems strange to me, but I get how it works for Painters. Intellectual wellbeing means having a healthy curiosity about people. Both Painters and Pointers have a need to share their stories, so we all need listeners, and listening is an act of kindness. It’s amazing how, if we’re paying attention, such a simple act of kindness as listening can bring the Spirit’s gift of joy! When I’m kind enough to encourage someone to share their story, a number of spontaneous and serendipitous surprises are poised to splatter us both with joy…
- “You love me!” Kindness is love put into action. Do you ever wonder how many people you pass by in a day who have no one to listen? Hearing someone’s story, absorbing their words and gestures and emotions, says, “I care about what you’re telling me.” You may or may not hear, “Hey, thanks for listening,” but you’ve likely made a big difference and brought the gift of joy to someone who may have desperately needed it. There’s joy in knowing that, too.
- Everybody learns something. There’s joy in discovery. Listening helps Pointers dig deep and find out the feelings they’ve got tucked away inside. Listening helps Painters process their thoughts out loud and pull them into meaningful expression. And listeners just might find a “Eureka!” moment themselves: “I’d have never thought of that!”
- Talking can be therapeutic. That makes listeners therapists. Professional counselors tell us that most of their clients just need someone who will listen. Often those who give the gift of a listening ear receive a gift greater than the one who needs to talk. Joy!
- The story of the Bible continues. Most of the Bible is simply the story of God making himself known in the lives of needy people. When we listen to stories, and especially if we can help people wind the threads of their story into a pattern, we help reveal the working of God in their lives. Watching Jesus at work is the fount of all Christian joy.
- Bonds of intimacy. Sharing our stories changes the nature of the connection between us. Picture a friend. What hurt or celebration or dream or loss do they hold in their heart? When it was shared with you, a bond of intimacy was created that you two will always share.