Are we really ‘Listening’.


On Sunday I wrote of the ‘Darkness into Light’ event, the power of it and it got me thinking. I ended the piece saying we have to really listen to really try to understand, to not judge, to open a door for those in pain, so they may be able to open up themselves and take off their masks .

I came across this poem again a few days ago and it struck a chord. It is a powerful piece by Charles C Finn, an american poet. This is the abbreviated version.

Please hear what I’m not saying
Don’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face that I wear. For I wear a mask.
I wear a thousand masks that I am afraid to take off, and none of them is the real me.
So don’t be fooled by me, I’m good at pretending.
I give the impression that I’m cool and confident, but inside, it’s different.
I’m not in command.
I’m often confused, lonely and desperately need someone to understand me.
But I hide and I don’t want anyone to know.
So when I’m talking, please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying, what I’d like to say but I can’t.
I’d like to be genuine, honest and sincere, but I cannot without your help.
My trust grows very slowly, so you will have to be patient with me
Each time you are kind, gentle and encouraging, each time you try to understand,
I am given new hope and I start believing in myself in a new way.
You let me see its o.k. to be me.
So I can take off the mask and be happy in your company, I can let you see the real me.
Who am I you may wonder? I am someone you know very well.
For I am every man and woman you meet.

Charles C. Finn
(abbreviated version, the longer version is on this LINK)
September, 1966


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