This poem was written by Ray Houghton, M.D. Berkeley, CA.
When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice,
You have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell why I shouldnít feel
You are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve
You have failed me, strange as that may seem.
All I asked was that you listen, not to talk or do Ė just hear me.
And I can do for myself: Iím not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.
When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself,
You contribute to my fear and weakness.
But when you accept as a simple fact I do feel what I feel,
No matter how irrational, it may seem easier for me to quit trying to convince
you and I can get about the business of understanding whatís behind this
seemingly irrational feeling.
And when thatís clear, the answers are obvious and I donít need advice.
Feelings make sense and are respectable
When we understand whatís behind them. Perhaps why prayer works, sometimes,
for some people,
Is because God is mute and doesnít give advice to try to fix things.
Those who care enough to just listen, communicate that they have faith that
you can work things out for yourself.
So, please listen and just hear me.
And, if you want to talk, wait a minute
For your turn; and Iíll listen to you.
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