Roadblocksl in communication A quote from Pope Francis: “Communicating means sharing, and sharing demands listening and acceptance. Listening is much more than simply hearing. Hearing is about receiving information, while listening is about communication, and calls for closeness. Listening allows us to get things right, and not simply to be passive onlookers, users or consumers. Listening also means being able to share questions and doubts, to journey side by side, to banish all claims to absolute power and to put our abilities and gifts at the service of the common good.”-- Message for World Day of Social Communications, Jan. 22, 2016 It can be very difficult for me when a roadblock is reached in an important communication. Both parties can try, yet there are times when a bridge can’t be navigated because it is not there. I often forget what a tangle it can be when talking with others. I am almost 69 and with that comes a lot of experiences. I also believe that the most significant experiences are the ones that often happen very early in childhood which set the stage for our strengths and weaknesses and can make it hard to listen to others. Or there can be periods when the communication is one way. Where one party understands the position of the other, even if there is no agreement, but the other party is still unable to return the favor. I have been on both ends of this line. I have slowly learned that if this happens, no matter which space I occupy. The one who gets it or the one who does not, that there are times when I need to let it go without blaming anyone about it. This can be helpful because I know of the hopeless feeling that can surface when communications start to breakdown and both parties believe that if they yell loud enough, or get vulgar enough, then the other will get it. Of course the exact opposite happens. Being browbeat, or yelled at, or shamed only makes my walls go higher. Stances, perspectives etc., can become repetitious, making listening almost impossible. Stereotyping someone else, or being stereotyped only leads to anger. When some connection is garnered it is then that the two parties can truly listen and enter into the experience of the other. They become real to each other and not an obstacle to be overcome or converted. When we truly listen, we actually do walk side by side, like Jesus did on the road to Emmaus with his two disciples explaining the reality of the Gospel and the meaning of his life. If respect is not there, or love, then there are only enemies, each carrying the darkness of the other. Mirrors hating the other for its reflection. For if there is no communication, we become objects to one another. Contempt is the first step towards physical violence. Perhaps the Golden Rule is the only hope for us at this time. To actually enter into ourselves and come to some sort of understanding how we would actually want to be treated and then go out and treat others in that same way…….easier said than done, self-knowledge takes a lot of work.