Not much happened.
I posted my 1000th item on my blog and there was no fanfare, no fireworks display, no laser show. I did get an automated message from WordPress congratulating me on having 1000 posts, but other than that not much happened.
I wasn’t expecting anything to happen. Indeed the message from WordPress, automated as it was, was an unexpected bonus. And yet…
…and yet the fact that not much happened felt a bit anti-climactic. It felt as if someone important had forgotten my birthday. I think the problem is that to me the milestone of the 1000th bloggage felt significant but to everyone else it did not have the same level of significance. In fact to everyone else it was irrelevant, unimportant, insignificant.
I wonder if sometimes we have that problem with other people. We, or they, build something up in our mind to be much more important than the other person does. To one person it is of great significance and to the other it is of little interest. And that is a recipe for disappointment, disharmony or even worse.
So how do we avoid that? I suspect that a significant part of the answer is in effective communication. While I can perform ‘mind reading illusions’ I find it very hard to read people’s minds in normal circumstances. Indeed all of us have that problem: knowing what someone is thinking is very difficult, if not impossible, if they do not tell us what they are thinking.
Can you blame someone for failing to understand that we have attached greater or lesser significance to something than they have if we have not told them about it?
And even though God knows our thoughts even before we have been able to articulate them ourselves, if we don’t articulate them to him in prayer and listen for his response it’s hardly surprising when our plans and his don’t coincide either.
It is said that God gave us two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak. Actually he gave us two ears so we can find it much easier to locate the direction from which a sound is emanating. I think the lesson from having two ears and one mouth is not so much about how much we listen, but about whether or not we focus our attention on someone else and communicate effectively with them.
And the art of good communication is that it is two way. We need to be open, honest, available to listen, sensitive, interested in the other person, willing to be flexible, responsive and honest. That is in both speaking and listening.
Yes I know I wrote ‘honest’ twice. That’s because we need to be very honest with each other if we are to communicate effectively!
Be blessed, be a blessing.