Having an Assistance Dog is a good conversation starter – Marshall, my Hearing Dog, breaks the silence in medical waiting rooms and cuts through the tedium of queues. He’s always up for making new friends and gets people talking. Sometimes people ask me about him, curious as to what exactly a Hearing Dog does, while other times people share something of their own story. His readiness to ‘connect’ brings out the best in people, and his waggy tail seems to spread cheer.
I’m fortunate to live in a friendly town where people greet each other in passing, but not everywhere I’ve lived has been like this. It’s a shame that sometimes suspicion, judgement or prejudice have silenced people. Humans are inherently social, and when we block normal interaction, we can end up isolated.
Recently there was a knock at our door, and a stranger began: ‘I’m sorry to trouble you, but…’ – He’d driven past and was really interested to find out more about our timber carport as it was ‘just what I’ve been looking for!’
I suggested he gave me his email address so I could send him relevant links. The following morning, I had a lovely reply:
Thank you for being so helpful and human. It was a pleasure to meet someone kind and friendly who understands what can be achieved if we talk to each other.
I hadn’t done anything remarkable, I was just being human, but his words rang true – ‘what can be achieved if we talk to one another’.
Talking and listening can bring benefits all round. This truth was highlighted in a British Telecom advertising campaign, and thirty years later, the strapline ‘it’s good to talk’ is vernacular.
Truth is, I was taught to be very wary of strangers, but the risk of stranger-danger is minimal compared with the benefits of connecting. We benefit too, when we connect openly with God. Being honest allows God to give us wisdom.
It’s good to talk (and listen!) Let’s never doubt the positive impact we can have on others, and God can have on us.
Truth is…‘Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…’