An Encouraging Word – Can you hear me now?

Father J. Ronald Knott
Father J. Ronald Knott

Loud screaming and howling arose in the camp. Judith 14:19

Why is everyone screaming?

It seems that every day people are upping the level of brash, loud, in-your-face noise so as to be heard and to be noticed — from the unfiltered rantings of Donald Trump, to thumping car speakers on the streets, to loud cell phone conversations in public places, to piercing music videos, to the noisy protestations of those who feel they are treated unfairly.

Screaming is becoming a normal way to communicate with people who won’t pay attention. Even screaming is becoming less and less effective as more and more enter the shouting match.

Social media has made it abundantly clear that more and more people want to be heard. To get that hearing, they are willing to freely spill their guts without much restraint.

They want to be heard, to be noticed and to be cared about. Whether it is to make others laugh with a funny post, to think about a political position they support or to care about a cause close to their hearts, they want to know that they are not alone.

I suppose it is really more about validating their existence, about avoiding the fearful thought that they are invisible and unimportant in this world, that they have value and that they are not merely a grain of sand on an endless beach.

This anonymous poem could be a salve for our needy culture:

Listen to me, please, I need to talk to you;
Give me only a few minutes;
Accept what I experience, what I feel,
Without reserve, without judgement.

Listen to me, please, I need to talk;
Do not bombard me with questions, advice and opinions;
Do not feel obliged to settle my difficulties,
Could it be that you lack confidence in my competence?

Listen to me, please, I need to talk;
Do not try to entertain or amuse me,
It would make me think you fail to understand the importance
Of what I am going through.

Listen to me, please, I need to talk;
Do not feel it your duty to approve, if I need to tell my story

It is simply to be set free.

Listen to me, please, I need to talk;
Do not interpret and try not to analyze;
I would feel misunderstood and manipulated,
And could no longer tell you anything.

Listen to me, please, I need to talk;
Do not interrupt me to question me;
Do not attempt to force me to reveal what is hidden,
I know how far I can and will go.

Listen to me, please, I need to talk;
Respect the silences which help me to make progress;
Be very careful not to break them;
It is very often through them that things are clarified.

So now that you have let me have my say,
I beg you, now you may speak;
Attentive and at your disposal,
I, in my turn, will listen to you.

To read more from Father Knott, visit his blog:

Father J. Ronald Knott

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