My wife told me once that the worst time to catch me is after a cup of coffee because I don’t shut up. On our honeymoon she asked herself what she was getting into when we stopped to get a cup of coffee on the way to Denver and I talked her ear off the whole drive. In order to hear my wife I would have had to stop talking, but when I am on a caffeine buzz I can solve the worlds problems.
I was talking to a woman the other day about her daughter and the struggles that she was having. Strangely I was given this opportunity because she happen to be working the register at a local grocery store. In a short amount of time I was able to find out the most pressing struggle in her life by simply listening and asking one or two questions. By the time I left I knew someone a little better and I would like to think that I was able to help her carry her burden if only for a couple minutes. I did not solve her problems, or the other people that I have tried to listen to this week.
I say try because I still stink at it, I still try to give advice at the most inappropriate times. I would like to think that the advice that I offered were of help, but ultimately probably not as much as I think. Advice can sometimes add a burden, whereas listening can share it. Many times people need to be understood before they can accept help.