Talk Show host Larry King once said, “I never learning anything while I was talking.”
However, experience often proves that wrong. When we joke or tease, some barbed words are based in truth. In life and fiction, these can grow into honest conversations that strengthen relationships. To my grateful shock, I frequently learn while talking.
Time’s Dec. 15th issue discusses Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s creative but sometimes awkward conversation pattern. His COO says, “He’s (also) one of the best listeners I’ve ever met…. When you talk to Mark, he doesn’t just listen to what you say. He listens to what you didn’t say, what you emphasized. He digests the information, he comes back to you and asks five follow-up questions.”
My most notable example of learning while listening to what I said came when my mother neared death from cancer. My sister phoned asking me to answer Mom’s final unsettling questions about the reality of eternity and heaven. What if this was all there is?
It was the end of my workday. Hospital co-workers had left and our department was quiet as I gripped the phone, asking God for right words as I began talking. Mom could no longer speak, just listen. Because God is faithful, as I talked I learned things I had not known. I said she would soon see it’s this world that isn’t real, that it will disappear as fast as a child’s bursting soap bubble as the heaven’s reality surrounded and uplifted her.
She also wanted to live to see her youngest grandson’s baby born. Except that child wasn’t even conceived. I suddenly knew and said, “You’ll know all about that before we do. You’ll have a grandstand seat to where those decisions are made and babies are put together.” With all my heart I believed those words. I knew they were true. I spoke, and listened.
In fiction and life even conversations that don’t initially go well can be can-opener conversations taking us or characters beyond where we were before.
Awkward moments? Malapropisms?
No. Trophies gained.
Listen with your heart. Reach deep asking God for words you or characters speak. And receive His words—wonderful gifts from Him who is The Word.
Whether we’re speaking or listening, He loves filling situations with Himself.
It’s your turn. What have you learned while speaking?