Jul 4 1 Comment

How to listen to the silent pleas

I started reading a children’s book called Momo. The plan is to read it for my kids, but I was so excited about it that I started reading it on my own. It’s going to be great. As the title suggests, the main character in the book is a girl named Momo. And this is why all the people in the village went to see Momo:

She listened in a way that made slow-witted people have flashes of inspiration. It wasn’t that she actually said anything or asked questions that put such ideas into their heads. She simply sat there and listened with the utmost attention and sympathy, fixing them with her big, dark eyes, and they suddenly became aware of ideas whose existence they had never suspected.

Momo could listen is such a way that worries and indecsisive people knew their own minds from one moment to the next, or shy people felt happy and hopeful. And if someone felt that his life had been an utter failure, and that he himself was only one among millions of wholly unimportant people who could be replaced as easily as broken windowpanes, he could go and pour out his heart to Momo. And, even as he spoke, he would come to realize by some mysterious means that he was absolutely wrong: that there was only one person like himself in the whole world, and that, consequently, he mattered to the world in his own particular way.

Such was Momo’s talent for listening.

I read this today and decided I needed no other devotion than this one: I want to become a listener like Momo. I want to listen with my mouth shut, my ears and heart open. I want to hear words not spoken, as the well as the spoken ones. I want to hear beyond the words and I want to offer my advice not with more words, but with an understanding attitude.

And then I want to listen with a heart willing to act. I want to listen to the silent cries of the world. Of mothers, children, and desperate fathers. Of farmers, midwives and teenagers with no hope. Of orphans, of the sick, of the dying, and the ones sitting with the dying. I want to listen to the silent sobs, the pleas for justice, and the determined demands for righteousness.

I don’t know how the story of Momo will develop yet, neither do I know my own story. But I know that in a world so full of noise, there is a great need for the ones who can listen. I want to be one of the listeners rather than the noisemaker.

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