To Be Seen and Heard

If we want to support each other’s inner lives,
we must remember a simple truth:
the human soul does not want to be fixed,
it wants simply to be seen and heard.

If we want to see and hear a person’s soul,
there is another truth we must remember:
the soul is like a wild animal –
tough, resilient, and yet shy.

When we go crashing through the woods
shouting for it to come out so we can help it,
the soul will stay in hiding.
But if we are willing to sit quietly
and wait for a while,
the soul may show itself.
~Parker Palmer from The Courage to Teach

I tend to be a crash-through-the-woods kind of person, searching out those in hiding needing help whether they want it or not. Part of this is my medical training: I’m not subtle, I can be brash and bold as I go where no one else wants to go.

Friends have reminded me this actually isn’t helpful much of the time and certainly doesn’t translate well in non-clinical settings. They have a good point. Undoing what I’ve learned isn’t easy, but I’m trying.

Before I trained in clinical medicine, I knew how to blend into my surroundings, to simply wait and listen and take note of what I observe. I never would have been part of a research team observing wild chimpanzee behavior without being born with that skill. The wild and shy around me eventually did show themselves, but it took time and patience and a willingness to let things happen without my making it happen.

I’m trying to relearn what I knew intuitively fifty years ago and unlearn what I was trained to do forty years ago as a “fix-it” clinician. It helps when people remind me to tone it down, back off and simply “be.”

I just might see and hear and understand more than I ever have before.

3 thoughts on “To Be Seen and Heard

  1. Thank you for these good reminders for me today, as even now I am almost breathless from leaning out to others. I’d rather not admit it, but I think I’m blindly playing God as I go through my check list of people to touch base with, help. It is my heart AND my heart deceives me.

    God just blessed our daughter with their third precious baby to adopt and even though we are still at home on standby to drive to Fla with her two boys, I’m breathless from all of the above.

    So again, thank you. I will step back once again and let God be God. And now I’m going to take a short nap. My soul needs it.

    Keeping sharing your heart and beautiful photos. God is using you!

    Robin In Charlotte, NC

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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