“Pay Attention” Sub-Pages:
Be a Listener and an Observer:
Read this: Listening isn’t Hearing
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. – Stephen Covey
Understand Thoroughly Before Reacting:
What we usually hear nowadays – you only need to turn on the radio or watch television to hear it – is condemn first and talk after. Insult first; we’ll talk about it afterward. An attitude that says, “He who hits first, hits twice.” But this is not the logic of love… Establishing love is a work of skillful craftsmanship, the work of patient people, people who do their utmost to persuade, to listen, to bring people together. – Cardinal Bergoglio, Only Love Can Save Us as quoted in Through the Year with Pope Francis
Stepping Back from a Messy Situation:
Sometimes amazing things happen when you are on the verge of a messy situation, but take a step back and try to look at things from God’s point of view.
Read this: She Yelled and Called Me Names
I don’t know that I’ve had anything quite as dramatic as that happen, but I’ve at least seen it on a smaller scale. When people asked me those typical young-mom-with-her-hands-full-in-the-grocery-store-check-out-line questions, my personality dictated a polite, understated response. Maybe I wasn’t bold enough to make more of a statement, but sometimes those responses led to thoughtful chats with moms who were eager, or even desperate, to talk to someone about those big, important questions about life and raising children.
One way of defusing a tense confrontation (especially about the faith, and hat-tip to Patrick Madrid here) is to respond with a question for further explanation rather than a defensive argument. This has at least three benefits: allows you to calm down about the matter, gives further understanding of their position before you respond and it might even clear up what could possibly be an initial misunderstanding.
My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement. – Patricia in Joe versus the Volcano
What are we deaf to?
The People God Puts in Our Lives for a Reason
If we are paying attention, we will wake up enough to notice that even a person in our lives that we are finding annoying or difficult might just be there for a reason.
Do you know anything about St. Raphael besides his being an archangel? He leads you to the people you are supposed to meet… It’s a prayer I’ve said every day for many years…
O Raphael, lead us toward those we are waiting for, those who are waiting for us: Raphael, Angel of happy meeting, lead us by the hand toward those we are looking for. May all our movements be guided by your Light and transfigured with your joy.
-Flannery O’Connor to Janet McKane (July 1, 1964) from The Habit of Being, Letters of Flannery O’Connor (hat-tip Gretchen Rubin)