In general, I have to practice listening.
When someone has a story or fact to share, I make it a point to hear them, and I have learned to be quiet and think before I blab on about what I want to say. That being said, I also have my opinions about many things, and I enjoy discussing similar interests with other people. I'm not shy, and I am glad, when asked, to speak up. Those who know me in the "real world" know that I'm a talker. The thing I don't like is when someone talks over me - without regard for conversation. I call that person a blabbermouth, or a know-it-all, both are somethings that I don't want to be.
Thanks to google, and to it being such a fantastic resource, I also discovered whole articles about "how to know if you are a know-it-all", "Ways to communicate with a know-it-all" and, fortunately, "How to deal with a know-it-all."
Now if you take your basic know-it-all, and realize that he or she is basically a narcissistic asshole, it becomes easier to just let them go on and on, and you just think about something else until they are done. That's becoming what I do, at least, up to a point. Let me share more.
Last week I encountered a know-it-all. He actually fits the definitions I found when I googled "know-it-all" Here was the basic definition: (www.answers.com) One who claims to know everything and rejects advice or information from others.
I will refer to "this guy" as Eric. Eric is someone I met recently, and I have to deal with him in a professional manner, which only adds to the frustration. And Eric's mistake, little did he know (nor did he probably care), was that he tried to instruct and inform me about the Tour de France.
For those who don't know me very well, this fantastic cycling event became my very-much-needed diversion when my life fell apart (when my husband came out as gay, my faith fractured, and the world as I knew it had to be restructured). To say the least, I LOVE the Tour de France. I read about it, I watch it on TV (even the re-runs) and I have attended the race in France more than four times. I have favorite cyclists, I wear logo clothes, and I carry two souvenir keychains with me every day. Not only do I revere the race, but I love all things French. The race is simply the vehicle that lets me enjoy the country, the people, and the culture that I've only begun to discover. As enthusiastic as I am, I am well aware that I've only scratched the surface - I'm an observer and I have so much to learn!
Having shared that with you, I think you can understand my annoyance or frustration when Eric started his lecture to me on Lance Armstrong, the Tour, and his rundown on the two. At first I considered having a conversation, but that went awry when Eric ignored my input altogether, and there was nothing sensible for me to do than to drop it. I simply waited until he was done talking, and then Eric and I carried out our business. Done. And I no longer had to endure him or his ignorant comments (because he really was mis- or little-informed). 'Nuff sed about Eric.
Switching gears now to another topic where some are know-it-alls: Refusing to love and accept GLBT people! By being "out" as an ally in real life, being publicly supportive on this blog, through e-mails, and on facebook, I try to engage with others about another of my favorite topics. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to do the hard work of thinking through or listening to and learning from those who ARE GLBT.
This week I heard from "AL" with this message directed at Ray:
Comments: From: Al
Just heard your a sodomite. If thats so please quit using the church as a crutch and move on. You are only hurting Gods people and his message.
I responded: (Well, first I wrote something hurriedly and mean, and I erased that. THEN I responded with this)
Dear Al, I would love to have the right words to respond to you, but nothing I say can really impact someone who feels like you do. So many who do not choose to be gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender or otherwise, are faced constantly with people who make assumptions and reject them.
signed CJ, Ray Boltz Music, Inc.
To which AL replied: the only choice made here is that Mr. Boltz chooses to ignore Gods word and what he says about sin and also chooses to indulge in sin that is very clearly condemed numerous times throughout the Bible. I'm not saying im perfect either. I have moments of greed, lust, jealousy, pride, etc. the only difference between myself and Mr. Boltz is that i will admit to mine being wrong. he is being dishonest to himself and the very people he is claiming to minister to. Just as i have to come clean to God after i sin, so can he. God can and does forgive all sin. The first step for Mr. boltz is to admit that sodomy is wrong. Im sure he has heard all of this before, but i felt the need to say something.
I will pray that he is able to let go of this and give his life to god.
A fellow Sinner,
Now I'm thinking: This guy can't spell, capitalize, or construct a proper sentence. He doesn't even use a capital "G" in reference to God, and he wants to engage in a debate on the essence of what sin is and isn't? Because AL has not bothered to respectfully listen to any gay folks, I doubt he is going to listen if I take the time to continue talking (via e-mail) with him. In cases like AL's I generally revert to what I said in the first place: "... nothing I say can really impact someone who feels like you do."
It could be said that I'm not willing to listen to AL, and that is sort of right. Some might say that I am a know-it-all. To that I sincerely object. I admittedly say, "No, thank you," to the many who still hold their view that being gay is a sin. Out of respect, I have to say that I DID listen to this message most of my life. I'm steadfastly convinced that I was lied to, misled at the very least, and although I don't know of any time when I confronted someone to condemn them, I do know that I didn't accept or understand someone who was gay and Christian.
I'm certain that the fundamentalist message CAN be changed because I changed. That does give me HOPE, and it can happen when the know-it-alls stop hearing only their own repetitive messages of condemnation. Concerning AL and his comments, he probably never expected any reply. I'll treat him like I did "Eric" - and so many others who are not currently listening - stop and wait until the misinformation stops so that some day we can carry on the business at hand, which for us Christians, it is to love God, love others.
To the ones who think they know it all, I plead once again: Listen. Don't be jerks. Pay attention to others who live a life you don't understand.