Years ago an artist named Noreen and I were privileged to work together in the early years of the Worldwide Challenge magazine. We have stayed in touch. A short time ago she sent me a book by her daughter, Laura—Attend: Forty Soul Stretches Toward God.
As I began to read I was encouraged and challenged to “attend to God”—that is, to stretch toward Him. Several of her brief chapters fit in perfectly with the word God gave me for this year—linger. Be encouraged by this beautiful help to linger and listen with our loved ones.
Check in with a spouse, a roommate, a family member, or a friend by asking about the highlight and lowlight of their day. In one way, this task seems too simple. If you have followed the course of the book, you have already written letters, given gifts, and spent time remembering with friends.
But this is an important tool for those of us still learning to listen, to stretch toward one another with concern and to give our full attention. This question works well when your spouse or roommate has returned home after work, when you pick up a child from school, as you are cooking dinner, when the family sits down to dinner, or before you settle into watching TV and poking around on social media feeds.
In her book How to Talk to Practically Anybody About Practically Anything, Barbara Walters shares a truth that has stuck with me since I read it as a shy young woman: People love to talk about themselves, and especially to share their stories and experiences with someone who will listen carefully.
Walters found this equally true whether she was meeting celebrities, making daily conversation, or interviewing people for TV. She was always looking for the next good questions that could get a person talking about themselves.Continue Reading