Listening deeply

February 1, 2022 - 12:00am -- Living City

Listening deeply

I tried to respect my brother, no matter what he said

My youngest brother and I have always had a bit of a difficult relationship. Perhaps it’s because I left home when he was really young, or perhaps it’s because we both have strong tempers. Whatever the reason, there always seemed to be a misunderstanding between us. 

But when I decided to move to the U.S,, my brother (who says he is an atheist) asked me to move to Atlanta so he could have a family member living close by. Now we were close in terms of distance, but our relationship continued to be as strained as ever. 

I decided to try and put into practice Gospel love as explained by Focolare founder Chiara Lubich,, that is, listen deeply, and don’t try to reply until the end after you feel the Holy Spirit has suggested something. 

So, I started trying to really listen carefully to him, but it seemed every time he would say something very disappointing. But I decided it didn’t matter. I just had to love him.

Each day I would call him to say hello and ask about his family, trying always to be nice, gentle and listen to him, being careful about which topics I brought up. 

If he said something I didn’t agree with, I would only say, “Well, this is the way I think, but I respect what you say and how you think.” I really tried not to judge him. 

It was very beautiful for me when he called last week to say that the way I live my religion is the best way. He noticed that no matter how the conversation ended the day before, I always came back the next day wanting to love. 

Since then, he has started opening up to me. With joy I realized that when we try to love and listen to one another, it does not matter how many years it takes, eventually, God will do something in that person.

M. V., Atlanta