Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Did you have pancakes last night? I did!

In fact we had a pancake feast with ten of us sitting down around a large table in a big kitchen, two frying pans "on the go" and the table groaning with a huge range of possible fillings. We had the obvious, if not obligatory, lemon wedges and sugar, then there were some delicious stewed Victoria plums, chopped bananas, tubs of chocolate spread (a particular nutty brand) and grapes. My 'best filling of the night' was chocolate spread with the plums on top!

But, having had listening very much at the forefront of my mind, I realised how strong that group is because we do spend time listening to one another. Not just the slightly superficial hearing aspect of listening but the whole experience of absorbing body language and tone, facial expressions and pitch. Real listening requires engaging with the whole person, hearing the fears they manage to voice but also discerning the ones they can't bring themselves to say out loud...

I am grateful to the friends I have - not that many - who really listen to me. Who probe and prod deeper - who occasionally annoy me because they dig down to the bits I wanted to keep hidden but never beyond the boundary of my endurance. I'm a stronger person for that.

Sitting round that table laughing and eating, chatting and sharing I realised just how powerful the gift of listening to someone and vice versa is afresh...

The kitchen still smelt delicious this morning and reminded me all over again of the joy of friends

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