“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak…” -James 1:19

Dear reader friends,

Can you believe this historical pandemic roller coaster we have all been on? What a wild global ride. I hope you are well. What stories we will have to tell great-grandchildren. For example, we have witnessed people wearing masks in banks, and they weren’t bank robbers!

I hope we can stay alert and “buckled up” for what may also come in the next handful of years. We share faith and connection across the world. We’ll get through it.

I was thinking about another sort of mask recently: the oxygen mask. My thoughts were inspired by this quote from the late, great Stephen R. Covey who said: “When you really listen to another person from their point of view and reflect back to them that understanding, it’s like giving them emotional oxygen.”

Yes.

When we listen deeply to others, it’s as though we are gently extending oxygen masks to them. They can then breathe more deeply. They can fill their “emotional lungs” completely. They can relax. They can let go.

These are the non-controversial masks everyone wants.

Years ago, Jack Klugman, an actor starred in a fun and funny show (that is also clean! You can find it on YouTube:) called The Odd Couple. It was said of Mr. Klugman that he was easy to direct. He only wanted one thing. He wanted to know what “the one thing the character needed” was in any particular scene. He could take it from there and do well.

One thing each of us needs, as we pass through the scenes of our lives, is to be heard and understood. We need emotional oxygen. We also need to offer it to others.

It’s easier for me to be generous with emotional oxygen as I ponder this: “Everyone wears an invisible sign that reads ‘Notice me. Make me feel important’”. (H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)

Does that resonate with you? Me too.

There are lots of ways to make others feel important. Deeply listening is one of the best, huh? Listening helps others recognize their inherent worth, wherever they are in life.

This quote is so profound:

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise, we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. -Thomas Merton

Physical masks can remind us of emotional oxygen masks. We can hand them out everywhere! We do this as we listen with our full hearts, our full compassion, our full love, and our full desire to understand. 

Jesus said “He who has ears, let him hear” -Matthew 11:15.

Is this why we have two ears and one mouth-to help us remember to get that ratio of talking and listening down?

Let’s go forward and be generous with our masks of love, especially with our families.

P.S. For more on many good things focused on family, please enjoy our new podcast: Moms Meet World. It’s a fun bunch of us. We would love to have you join us too:) https://www.podpage.com/site/mom-meets-world/episodes/