“Hey, Michelle! Wait up!”
I was walking between buildings at work, and I spotted a gal I knew. I wanted to catch up with her, see how she was doing, just enjoy her company. She has an outstanding sense of humor and a delightful take on life, and just talking with her makes me smile.
She didn’t slow down.
I got louder.
I wasn’t in shoes worth running in, but I tried. I reached her as she went through the door.
“I was hitting the button. You had plenty of time.” Her exaggerated eye-roll put the grin on my face, and we both laughed out loud as we went into the building.
The truth is, I have a loud voice. Six kids, a husband who can get preoccupied–let’s just say I’ve learned to project well.
She heard me. She chose not to respond.
I was with Ryken recently, a gem of a five-year-old who can become unbelievably focused when he’s on electronics. I asked him a question about what he wanted to eat. I stood two feet in front of him.
“Ryken. Ryken. Ryken.”
Then I got in his face, loudly calling for his attention.
At least it was a response.
I’m often quite unresponsive when others are trying to get my attention. I’ll receive text messages, emails, or even phone calls and won’t be quick to return them. In my mind, I plan on thoughtfully following through and connecting with others. I’ll even think I’ve done it because I knew I wanted to.
It didn’t happen.
My kids insisted I get an Apple watch so I would be aware of messages that come through that require a quick response. I frustrated all of them when John was hospitalized with a heart problem, and no one could get in touch with me.
I don’t pay attention to my phone when I coach people.
Yet when I want to speak to or be heard by someone, I become the obnoxious one. Persistent. Unwavering.
We long to be heard, to know that those with whom we speak or associate value us enough to listen. Where we take time to focus, look one another in the eye so we know we’re connecting.
Being heard isn’t just a matter of saying words. There has to be a recipient who listens.
In a world of constant loud and persistent demands, being able to connect with others honestly is becoming a greater challenge. We need to have the freedom to ask the hard questions of those we care for–and have the privilege of having the hard questions asked of them. Two-sided interchange.
Without that, it becomes easy to feel lonely or not valued.
I don’t have to badger God for His attention. He hears me when I speak to Him. Because I am His, I have His ear. He longs for me to talk with Him about all the things that weigh me down, overwhelm me, make me glad.
What I say to Him matters. He hears me, sees me. Loves me.
No obnoxiousness required.