Good Samaritan II

I think that I have been redeemed for the Bloody Mary incident last week. Lisa went to a baptism this morning at 10:00 and I was going to meet up with some friends to go and watch a movie. As I was getting ready to go, the door bell rang, I answered and saw a older gentleman and a young man dressed up. They introduced themselves as Jehovah's Witnesses and asked if they could read me a scripture. I said sure, thinking back on the many conversations I'd had with people on my mission and the fact that it didn't hurt me to talk for a few minutes on a beautiful, sunny day. They read their scripture to me, out of the gospel of Matthew, and asked me a few questions. They also said that they had an article in a magazine that helped to explain what the scripture meant, and asked if they could leave me a copy. I said sure, but then said, only if I could give them something in return. I ran back into the house and grabbed two pamphlets about the Hill Cumorah Pageant. I said that I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints, and that we had a pageant in July, had they ever heard of it and would they like to come? They quickly thanked me and left. Way to go Chris.


Good Samaritan?

I ran to a local grocery store late tonight to get a few things that we needed for dinner tomorrow. I had just come from the adult session of Stake Conference in which we had heard about letting our light shine, and I was feeling inspired and uplifted from the meetings. As I was checking out, there was an older, run-down looking gentleman in front of me buying some groceries as well. The cashier told him that his food stamp card had insufficient funds, and so after waiting a few moments, he said that he'd just leave everything behind. Without thinking, I said that I'd pay for his groceries as well as mine. He tried to object and say that it was too much, but it really wasn't that much and I said that I was happy to do it. He graciously accepted, I paid, and we went on our separate ways. As I left, I was feeling quite good about myself. I was letting my light shine, I was helping my fellow man. I got to my car, got in, and put my groceries in the seat next to me. In my delight with myself, I checked the receipt to see what great goods I had purchased for this down-on-his-luck gentleman and saw that I had just paid for several bottles of a Bloody Mary mix. Way to go Chris.



Lisa and I have different styles of communication. I'm just starting to realize this after more than five years of marriage. I know, slow. I will now ably demonstrate the extremities of my slowness. In college I took a course titled "Interpersonal Communication" or something similar to that which fulfilled an unavoidably important requirement, moving me one step closer to the mythical land of graduation. In the course, we studied and learned all about different ways in which we communicate, such as verbal and non-verbal cues. We practiced doing speeches to refine our presenting and apparently eliminate the sound, um, from out repertoire. I got an A+ in the class. Possibly my only such grade in all of collegedom. That high scholastic achievement however, does not necessarily indicate that I am a great communicator. Anzi*, it means that I am a great talker, and there are many people in my life, willing to testify to the fact that I like to tell stories and hear the sound of my own voice (If you don't believe me, just check out the length of this post. I'm talking as I'm typing.). What I don't remember learning in my A+ class education is that part of communication called listening. I'm sure that there was talk of listening, and it's role in communication. Probably even several classes on it. I guess I just didn't ever listen.

So I think they should have an entirely different course about listening. Not only would this help to facilitate the general increase of communication skills of UW Alumni, but it would also be an extra class that the University could require and force people to take, meaning more $$$. Had I taken such a wonderful course, then I would be much better prepared to face the rigors of daily life and actually listen to the people around me, instead of simply hearing the words coming out of their mouths. I don't mean to imply that I have absolutely zero skills in listening, I can occasionally muster up my powers of hearing beyond the spoken word to accomplish what is commonly known as "reading between the lines". As Lisa can attest to, it doesn't happen often.

This leads me back to the original intention of this blog post. I need to listen better. I will go out on a limb and say that a lot of couples are like Lisa and I, we occasionally argue. I know, hard to believe, but it is true. We disagree about things, and then when we talk (sometimes more loudly than others) about them, I think that I am right, at least that is how I feel. I tend to think that if I could just explain to Lisa so that she understood how I felt, and why I did something the way I did, then enlightenment would be reached, the argument would dissolve and the bliss often referred to as wedded would once again descend and cover up my imperfections. If she just understood, all would be well (I once made the mistake of telling my dear sweet wife that she needed to be more understanding. That did not go over well. If anyone out there is ever tempted to say something similar to your wife. Don't.). I need to listen. What I want others to do for me (try and understand my thinking) I typically don't think to reciprocate until it is too late. I know. Not really a mind blowing conclusion that I've reached. Other people want understanding too, just like me. I think this is the root cause of 80% of the arguments that I get into (which tend to be with Lisa, no one else is around me enough, also 42.7% of all statistics are made up). The other 20% of the arguments occur because I stop listening and start trying to fix. That is also a mistake, and a whole discussion in and of itself. I'll save it for another time. So the moral of the story is to take a course on listening in college. If you have already graduated from college or have never attended college and don't plan on it, I don't know what to tell you. Good luck.

*teaching you Italian one word at a time