Thanks For Listening

Yeah, yeah, yeah! We’ve all got problems. See you next week, and please keep the door open so the next whiner and complainer can come in.

That is my Christ-like, professional approach to people in crisis. The problem is that I am in a personal crisis management mode, that I don’t have time to really listen to, let alone minister, medicate, or mentor those who have unfolding crises in their lives.

‘Go talk to someone who really cares’, is what I want to say. Obviously that response would not allow me to code my billing correctly so that I could charge the patient (also known as person) in the correct category. Their problems translate into profits, or at least a percentage of my costs of sitting here listening to them cry and moan about how bad life has been to them.

So I pretend to listen. I do my best to display affection, empathy and genuine concern, at least for 15-20 minutes. That is what the insurance company will allow, and about all my personal space can tolerate. After all, I have problems too!!!

I am not a good listener. Though my wife would deny such a claim (laugh here), I have yet to learn to listen without comment, criticism, solving or sarcasm. The only reason I listen is to wait for a chance to speak when someone is silent. Far be it from me to miss a chance to speak my mind about whatever is on someone else’s mind. I need to be able to say; ‘I told you so, just like I said, or why didn’t you listen to me’ somewhere in the middle of their delusional discourse.

I hope that I will not reveal too much of my self-absorption, so I chew a piece of gum to keep my eyes open.

‘What’s that you say? You feel ignored and insignificant? Well the truth is in the overall universe, you are insignificant. Please pay your co-pay on the way out, and I will see you next week.’

The reply is the same. ‘Thank you doctor Johnson for taking the time to listen. You are really wonderful and the only doctor who really understands where I am coming from.’

I am so glad they don’t see the time clock that restrains me, or the personal baggage that impairs me from really ministering to them as they need it. But at least the insurance company is happy. ‘Thanks for listening’ they tell me. That is ICD9 code number 202020.101010.6453.

Only God hears the cry of the lonely. I pray that He will intervene and I am assured that He alone hears that He hears the cry I ignore.

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. Psalm 34:6