Learning Not To Preach

The frustrating thing about words is that they can be so elusive. I know what I want to say. It’s on the tip of my tongue and it’s powerful. If I could get the words out, I’m sure you would be impressed.

Trouble is, I can’t get the words out. At least not in any meaningful way. So, what do I do? I ramble.

My words meander like a stream, growing into a creek, they start to gather momentum as I string thoughts and concepts together, and then they form a mighty river of bloviated thought. A colossal wind tunnel of mind-numbing lecture and platitudes. My sermon reverberates off the walls and echoes off into the ether.

It’s a shame really because these ideas are gold. I just wish that my disciples would take heed of my wisdom. If they knew who I was and if they would drink deeply of my profuse knowledge their lives would bear the mark of enlightenment.

If only they would listen when I spoke. Instead, they are interested in their own thoughts and ideas. My audience is caught up in their own life, coming to terms with their own reality. They have questions and opinions, and they are malleable, if only someone would meet them where they were.

I suppose that’s the frustrating part. In my efforts to be heard, I overlook my audience and focus intently on my message. Instead of my words being a soothing ointment to the soul, they are arrows and pin-pricks wounding and maiming.

I need to learn to listen and ask questions. I think people do want advice, but they want it on their terms in a way that is relevant to them. They aren’t obstinate. Rather they are lost and looking for friends that will walk with them. It’s only when I stop preaching that they engage. It’s when I am listening that my audience listens as well.