Act N°6(2017): Listen & Act N°7: Undivided

Yesterday I was away from a computer all day, so didn’t really have time to blog about the Act. To be honest, it was a difficult one to get my head round…I think it might be one of those Acts which I have to “hold on to” and remember as time goes on.

ACT N°6: LISTEN: The prompt read: Propped up against a wall, one hand holding a sandwich, one hand holding a phone, one ear on a friend updating us on their day, one on the football scores. Sound familiar? We’re hearing, but not always listening. And listening can be the simplest way to relieve the burdens of others. Today, make a point of giving someone the profound gift of your availability and vulnerability.

The Acts were:

GREEN: Make a conscious effort to remove any distractions when someone’s talking to you on the phone (long phone calls are a prime opportunity to tune out – let’s be honest), and really try to focus.

AMBER: Think about someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Or someone who you talked with yesterday, but only gave half your attention to. Fix that today.

RED: Make this a habit. Work on the skill of listening well – really put in the hours – and then give it away as a gift, so that others get an opportunity to tell their stories. Consider accessing good-quality training to give you the right tools to be an effective listener.

and you can read the full meditation over here

****

I think the Green act is actually quite a difficult one – particularly in my conversations with ML FD. I fear that last year I wrote a similar thing, and I probably didn’t keep up with the “resolution” to listen in a more engaged way to him then either! (Yes, indeed – last year I wrote: But, I will try to connect more when Mr FD is talking to me in future, instead of just grunting non-commitedly, and I will also try to take on board the useful pointers given here on the Stewardship blog.

And so I continue to learn!

Perhaps I will also try to make the effort to go to see our neighbours across the square. I haven’t really spoken to them for a while. Tomorrow would be a good opportunity as I’m not working.

ACT N°7: UNDIVIDED:

The prompt read: When was the last time you spent time with someone of a different culture, religion, social background or age group to you? The UK is a mix of cultures and income brackets, but sometimes the divisions can feel stronger than the connections – communities bumping into each other but never really joining together. Break those barriers down today and cross a social divide.

The Acts are:

GREEN: What’s the cultural mix where you live? There might be a large Bangladeshi community in your neighbourhood, or a big Spanish group in your church. Could you read up online and learn a few quick greeting words to use when you meet them? Start with ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ – winners in any conversation.

AMBER: Look out for someone whose social background or culture or religion is different from yours – a neighbour, a parent at the school gates, your local shopkeeper. Spend longer in conversation with them today. Learn a few things about them that you didn’t know: about their kids, their dreams, where they’ve travelled in the world.

RED: How can you learn more about and come alongside those from different backgrounds in your community? Send a message of encouragement or thanks to other faith or culture groups in your area – a letter, an email, or face-to-face. Try a different style of church to your own – Anglican if you’re Evangelical, Greek Orthodox if you’re Baptist, that kind of thing. Start breaking down divisions today.

You can read the full meditation over here

*****

“What’s the cultural mix where you live”? Er – mostly French! We’re the outsiders here!! I certainly could make more of an effort to mix…I have a tendency to generally visit our English-speaking friends more than our French speaking ones, though mayber that’s because of the etiquette side…I’m not sure about just “dropping in” on French friends (but see above for tomorrow’s plan)

But I think I will search out the addresses of some Mosques in this area (I imaine the nearest would be Roanne) and send an encouraging inter-faith message….Though I’m not quite sure (a) what I’ll say (b) if I will be up to translating it! Any suggestions (especially on (a)) ?!

Both of these Acts – plus the one before – have been challenging me more than I remember from last year. Challenging because I can’t see quite how to fulfill them, maybe, but also because I find I don’t want to do them. Am I getting 40 Acts fatigue? (A bit worrying at Act N°7! There’s 33 to go!) Maybe it’s just that these just aren’t focussing on things I like doing – or rather, are focussing on things I don’t like doing, such as speaking to strangers, or speaking French!

Anyway – I need to go. Packed lunch to make and then a full day of lessons. See you tomorrow!

Oh, and thanks Michelle for keeping me accountable! I will mull over what you suggested.

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4 Responses to Act N°6(2017): Listen & Act N°7: Undivided

  1. Michelle Nipps-Gros says:

    Hi , I have lived in France for almost 26 years, currently just north of Paris in Chantilly. This afternoon a friend of mine will again open up her snug but cosy and welcoming flat to host a weekly coffee and chat for woman who want to pop in for a cuppa and let off steam while their children go and do the typical french thing of activities on a Wed afternoon when there’s no school. We can be up to 14 nationalities, a mix of Christian and non Christians, married and some struggling as the head of 1 parent families. We who are Christians hope to bring friendship, light , hope and laughter. The mutual support is amazing. I feel so blessed and many times receive so much more than I give.

    • fatdormouse says:

      That sounds a lovely thing to do, Michelle. It seems to me you’ve found a great way to support each other. I have to say that on Wednesday afternoons I’m one of those “activities”c as I teach 8 children (individual lessons) English on Wednesdays! Thank you for taking the time to comment – sorry I’m late in replying.

  2. gypsylui says:

    Hej, I found your blogs via the comment section on facebook and it’s really nice to read about your thoughts about the 40acts and see all these cute cat photos. (And THANK YOU for keeping it in English – Frensh would be a real struggle ;))
    About #6: I noticed that listening carfully is always active. So, when I notice someone wants to talk to me or when someone calls, I prepare mentally, I gather my thoughts and try to get ready for listening. This sounds simple but when trying I noticed that I often don’t listen because my thoughts are drifting… I dunno, maybe it’ll help you too 🙂
    And about #7: When writing a mosque I’d advise to stay true to your beliefs but to appreciate what they are doing: giving hope and offering a place to come “home” for many believers, maybe they have a great Islam school or are doing good to elders or poor or they do a great job with refugees… Whatever their good deed is, thank them for it 🙂
    Greetings from a stranger and sister in Christ

  3. fatdormouse says:

    Thank you for your helpful suggestions, gypsylui. I included some of your ideas in my letter, so I really appreciate you taking the time to write a comment here.

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