Every now and then a story will stick to me with surprising … stickiness, and I wouldn’t realize that it’s stuck until it sticks out again. That’s an inelegant way of saying that there are anecdotes with amazing adherence and now I’m just being annoying. (Sorry, it’s past midnight).
Such is the case with Ruth Reichl’s recollection (I can’t stop) of one evening where, flattered and intimidated by the fact that guests paid to have dinner with her, Reichl prattled on without ceasing. At the end of the meal, which she thought she survived quite admirably, the man she sat beside said with disgust, “You barely asked a single thing about me, and I’m much more interesting than you!”
Reichl thinks this an odd statement to make until she looks up his name and realizes that, male ego aside, this is quite true: the man is something of a wonder (and this I can’t recall, but I think he was some sort of star investor or something or other). The point that stuck with me was that Reichl spent so much time trying to entertain or impress others, trying to establish that she really was worth their fundraising, that she missed out on something even better.
This sticks because this is me at times, especially when I’m worrying about what others think, but also sometimes when I just talk too much. I’m forever reminding myself to just shut up and listen, and I do so because all the times I do have been so rewarding. Reichl’s recount also reminds me (I’m so sorry) of this verse, one that is highlighted and underlined in my Bible for obvious personal reasons:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.Philippians 2:3-4. NIV.
Listening is incredibly rewarding. Take a few days ago, when an esteemed lawyer took the time to call and talk to me about a possibly academic future. I caught myself prattling in time to stop and learned from him a plethora of good direction. Or earlier tonight, when I spoke with my boss. She shared with me a perspective that was incredibly encouraging, especially as I contemplated homeschooling for the nth time. Or all of the days last week as I got to know a new neighbour better. She has been a blessing time and time again because she is so willing to share her thoughts and feelings, and she inspires me to keep being friendly.
What stories have been sticking to you lately?