Talker and Listener have been coffee-ing regularly at the same place for years. Talker, as his name implies, loved to talk. And Listener, as his name implies, did most of the listening.
Not that Listener didn’t like to talk – who doesn’t? – but Talker, an accomplished talker since childhood, always out-worded him.
Talker, like most talkers, didn’t know he was an incessant talker, didn’t know Listener resented Talker dominating every conversation, but rather assumed Listener appreciated his superior insights into every subject.
But today Listener was about to exact sweet, sweet revenge.
“Talker, I have been invited to give my life’s story before a class reunion, and I would like to practice on you. Is that okay?”
Terror swept over Talker, yet he managed a weak reply, “Well…. yes, Listener….. that would be…. okay.”
The trap was set.
Listener began his lengthy account, starting at birth and working his way to his present fiftieth year. When Listener got to twelve years of age, Talker was squirming. At twenty, Talker was rubbing a hand through his hair, and at thirty, both hands. For Talker, as all talkers, listening was agony.
At forty, Talker was limp in his chair, color drained from his face. At forty-five, other customers were staring at a man in obvious anguish, head slumped forward, fist pounding loudly on the table, emitting loud and woeful sobs…. while the fellow opposite chatted cheerfully!
At fifty, Listener finally finished his story. Vengeance meted out, Listener was satisfied and silent.
Talker, having barely survived the ordeal, immediately turned on his talking machine, and soon was spitting out words with the enthusiasm of a rat-tat-tat-tat machine gun. The medicinal sound of his own voice brought relief and strength to his damaged soul and body.
Jesus would have most of us talk less and listen more. If we halved our daily output of words we would still be talkative. Less talk means more listening. Listening is wisdom, listening is kindness, and listening is courtesy.
God bless you.