I enjoyed a two hour conversation with a friend this morning. Actually he is more than a friend; we share the commonality of being former pastors with some pain-filled stories. And although it’s been almost a year since we last talked, we can tell our stories knowing the other understands. There’s an empathy, a language, an understanding that doesn’t have to be spoken; it is assumed. There is a trust woven into our shared experiences. A love that values the unique story of the other. Confession comes easy and vulnerability is expected.
This relationship could easily be a hindered one. From both of our perspectives there could be opportunities to hold onto pain from the action of the other. It could be a very broken relationship. But it is not.
As I walked away from our conversation I pondered why it was easy to share, why it is a safe place. Why do words flow easily in that relationship but seem locked in a prison of second-guessing in others? Why is trust assumed in our relationship but not expected in so many others? Is it the commonality of stories? Is it the vows of calling?
But then, it struck me.
It was the posture. It was the mutual posture of hearing. The willingness to give space to the other. A pursuit to see the story from the other side. To seek to understand. To accept the stories of the other as their story. Not imposing our own versions, our own expectations, our own pain on the other.
It was listening. Hearing. An invitation extended TO the words of the other. A reception of confession. An embrace of forgiveness, a shared knowing that relationship is valued.
Today I confess my need of others. Once upon a time a mentor told me, “People are healed by the laying on of ears.”
Today I am grateful for healing.