The Lost Art of Listening

by Larry Hehn on April 24, 2013

listeningAfter all the fuss I’ve been making about growing my beard over the past several weeks, I took a major step backward on Tuesday night.

I took my son to the barber for a haircut. While dropping him off, I noticed on the menu board that the barber also did beards.

Noting that some beard hairs grow more quickly than others, and figuring that I’d benefit from a bit of a “clean up” trim, I soon found myself a chair.

Not wanting to undo a stellar three months of beard growth, I carefully explained to the barber, “I’m growing my hair out. I want to keep it as long as possible. I don’t want to lose any length on my beard. I just want you to even the growth out and trim down any stragglers.”

Before I knew it, he had taken a set of electric shears and hacked a full inch of growth off the right side of my face.

“Like this?” he asked, with a vacant look on his face.

I think the look of horror on my face and my exclamation of “Oh, crap!” told him he had made a huge mistake.

Too late at that point, though. We had to even everything out. Which means I lost about two months’ worth of beard growth in that sitting, due to some poor communication.

I am so bummed.

I was so careful and deliberate with my wording; I have no idea how he could have somehow heard me say, “Reduce my face to stubble.”

It reminds me of back when my wife was pregnant with our son. We were out of town in Buffalo, NY and she was having some serious cravings for a Wendy’s hamburger. I asked one of the locals where I could find a Wendy’s.

Without hesitation he replied, “There’s Swiss Chalet just around the corner.”

“Thank you,” I continued, “but my wife is pregnant. She has a craving for a Wendy’s hamburger. Do you know where we can find a Wendy’s?”

“Yeah,” he said, “Follow me, the Swiss Chalet is right around the corner.”

“B-but,” I stammered, “We’re looking for a Wendy’s…” as he hopped in his car and waved us on.

We got in our car and followed him. To Swiss Chalet. He waited in his car to make sure we got out of ours and went in. We hid inside the Swiss Chalet until he pulled away, then resumed our search for…a Wendy’s.

Do people not listen anymore?

It’s easy to spot when other people don’t listen.

I wonder how often I’ve had trouble with my own listening, and not even noticed.

I wonder what I’d hear God say to me right now, if I chose to discover the lost art of listening.

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