When you listen to unfamiliar voices…

When you listen to unfamiliar voices…

I spent Saturday at a party organised by Syrian refugees in Edinburgh. It was mainly women and their children. The women had prepared a veritable banquet to celebrate the 70th birthday of a woman who had helped them settle here. I heard stories very few can even begin to imagine – of lost relatives, of parents, brothers and sisters unaccounted for, of long arduous journeys on foot, of exhaustion, of hunger and of pillar to post negotiations to find a country of safety.

But mostly they wanted to talk of their new home and the hopes and dreams they have for their children.

It reminded me again of the immensity of the human spirit, of love unbounded and of humility.

How often do we listen to those not in our circle, our tribe and our ring of familiarity?

We need to open our ears to strangers. That is where we find wisdom and inspiration.

I have made it my business to do so, it is so enriching to listen to people whose life experience, background, culture and thoughts are different to mine.

It enriches us, builds empathy and opens our eyes and ears to a whole world beyond our own.

My speaking skills are a bi-product of my listening skills.