I heard the story of a young boy who was having a conversation with his dad. His dad was doing other stuff while trying to listen to what his son was saying, suddenly the young boy said, “Dad! you are not listen to me!”. -Of course!, said the father. The little boy stood up and went where his dad was working. He grabbed a small bench climb on it and faced his dad looking into his eyes saying, “No, dad! I want you to listen to me!”, -but I am, responded the father with a little of frustration. The little boy stared at the eyes of his father, grab his cheeks and said, Dad, “I want you to listen with your face.”
Listening with our face, what an intense statement in a world that is not used to listen anymore. We may have great conversation with each other but that does not mean that we are listening to each other. Most of the time when someone is sharing something to us, we are already preparing the answer that we will give him. We are more pron to give answers than to listen. We even have questions, but sometimes we do not want to listen to the answers. It is really hard to listen with our face the cries of our world when we can not even listen to our own cry. But we can also easily stay within us and quite down the many voices of the people suffering injustices, Manning says “When I am divided within myself, when I am so preoccupied with my own sins, egocentricity, and moral failures that I can not hear the anguished cry to others, then I have subtly reestablished self as the center of my focus and concern”.
There are many voices trying to get our attention in this community, are we going to keep listening just to the ones we like, or are we going to start listening with our face? This requires attention and willingness to listen without wanting to have the answers, but at least being able to offer our hand. Not the hand that gives bread with the hope that this soul will be “saved” from the flames of hell; but the hand that embrace, the hand that accept, the hand that offers a friendship, “what really counts is that in moments of pain and suffering someone stays with us. More important than any particular action or word of advice is the simple presence of someone who cares. In a time so filled with methods and techniques designed to change people, to influence their behavior, and to make them do new things and think new thoughts, we have lost the simple but difficult gift of being present to each other” (Nouwen,McNeill, Morrison)