This week while trying to teach listening skills, I was reminded of this story.
Back when telecommunications meant Morse code, there was often great competition to get the good jobs as “operators”. An add had appeared in the local newspaper and there were many who turned up in the hope of getting the job. The sign in the waiting room instructed applicants to fill out the form and wait until they were summonsed into the inner office. The office was busy, the Morse telegraph clattered in the background and most just sat there hoping for a job. Yet, one young man suddenly stood up, went to the door of the office and went in! Within a few minutes the employer escorted the young man from the office and announced to the other applicants: “Gentlemen, thankyou for coming, but the job has just been filled”. What had been going on? While the majority had just been waiting, one man was listening. The telegraph had just ticked out (in Morse) “If you understand this message, then come in. The job is yours.””
How well do you listen? The jobs and the rewards tend to go to those who hear more than the obvious, who tune into what is not said and can interpret the non-verbal messages that the majority don’t even notice. To do that we may need to hone up our listening skills, and tune into a different mindset. That applies, not just to the working environment, but also to our home life and spiritual life. So, are you listening or just waiting to be called?
Chaplain Ian Whitley