The Gift of Listening

I had just moved to a new country with my husband and family. That meant new schools for the children and a new job for my husband. It was a difficult time of adjustment for all of us, but I was especially feeling the strain. My marriage was feeling it, too. There was a growing list of subjects that my husband and I stopped talking about, because we knew they would lead to arguments.

But then I got to know Toni. Toni was my next-door neighbour. She had a family of small children, and her husband only worked sporadically. She was the glue holding their family together. And that was a full-time job. Somehow though, she always had time for me. Whenever things got to be too much at home, I knew I could always go to Toni.

I would knock on her door, and she would usher me in with a welcoming smile. She would stop whatever she was in the middle of doing and sit down with me, letting me pour out all my troubles and woes. Then she’d do the best thing a friend can. Simply but with all her heart, she would pray for everything I’d just burdened her with and commit it all into God’s hands.

 That’s how I learned the secret of how Toni could always stay so calm, and where she found the patience to always hear me out. Instead of trying to carry the weight of my troubles along with her own, Toni had learned how to cast her cares on the Lord and let Him sustain her.1      The Lord and His Word were a very real part of her life. They were what helped her through the difficult times, as well as what gave her the capacity to reach out to others in their need, like me.

 Since then, Toni and I have parted ways. Our children have grown up, and my husband and I have since reconnected. But I’ll never forget her kindness in always having time for me. Looking back, I can see that she was instrumental in helping me make the right decisions at a turning point in my life. I was like the man left by the wayside, emotionally beaten up and robbed, and Toni was like the Good Samaritan who rescued me.

  1. See Psalm 55:22.