Courage Is What It Takes To Stand Up And Speak; Courage Is Also What It Takes To Sit Down And Listen

Just Listen

Two simple words that, as adults, we don’t often say a loud to each other but every day each of us wants that.  To be heard and listened to.

We desperately want someone to take the time to hear us.  Really hear us.  But too often, we are too caught up in talking about ourselves to listen to anyone else’s heart.  We are in too much of a hurry to slow down and really listen.  There is too much to do and too little time.  If the conversation isn’t about us or things that are important to us, it’s easy to turn off or tune out.

We’ve all experienced being on either end of that scenario.  So we all just go through life figuring that’s just the way it is.  No one really wants to listen to who we are, or what we dream, our hopes, our fears.  And we settle for small talk that is quick and unimportant but puts a loose band-aid on the ache of our hearts that so want to be heard.

I ordered a sandwich this afternoon and when the waiter came up to our table with our entire order, he decided to strike up a conversation about what we were all working on/researching on our laptops & phones. He soon figured out that we are from out-of-state and went about telling us places to see, little joints to check out. But it didn’t stop right there, he sold these places to us. He began telling us story after story about each place, sometimes these places had multiple stories. His smile was from ear to ear as he spoke about his memories. This in turn fascinated us and we began asking him questions about who he is/what he does and it was obvious to see that his day was made….

I will most likely never see either this man again.  I hope that he felt heard and cared for in those minutes I was with them.  But I’m thankful for what they reminded me of once again.  The profound power of listening.  The small sacrifice of our own time and our own voice has the potential to touch another soul. With those we know and love and with the strangers who may “randomly” come across our paths.

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We Want To Live By Each Other’s Happiness, Not By Each Other’s Misery

One of my favorite monologues of all time is spoken by Charlie Chaplin’s character in the 1940 film, The Great Dictator. I urge you to watch the video below, as it is truly inspirational and I believe everyone needs to hear this.

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!