Listen. Do not have an opinion while you listen because frankly, your opinion doesn't hold much water outside of Your Universe. Just listen. Listen until their brain has been twisted like a dripping towel and what they have to say is all over the floor.
-- Hugh Elliott, Standing Room Only weblog, 02-14-2003
A few months ago, I found this quote while I was looking for something else entirely. It stopped me cold. It said in a very few words, all I wanted to be able to do when someone I care about (or maybe even someone I just met) needs to talk.
I made the quote part of my signature, replacing a rather sarcastic Douglas Adams quote, I think. Or maybe it was Terry Prachett. In any case, I removed the witty barb, and added something that became a goal. A standard. But I had no idea who the author of this quote was.
As I was driving to work this morning, the quote popped into my head. Along with:
"Look up the author."
It was as clear a message as if someone had said it. No, I am not hearing voices...it was a direction in my mind. A strong one.
So I came into work and looked it up. And I found the quote and the Standing Room Only weblog. But no entries more recent than 2006. So I searched again. I found a website that did not seem to be related and started reading that -- RealLivePreacher.com. Very cool site. So I added it to my blog list and went back to reading. And then I found it...information about who Hugh Elliot is. Where he is. And best of all, where I could find him online!!
Hugh Elliott, besides being a talented writer with a knack for saying exactly what needs to be said in an amazingly clear and unique way, is a man living with AIDS. A man who has, by his own report, lost his family because of his disease. A gay man who, in his new blog, is reading the Christian Bible -- not as a Christian, but as a person who is curious and wants to understand what it says. No agenda to prove it right (or wrong, for that matter.) Just a reader.
Check out his observations and thoughts as he reads. And don't miss his conversation with G-d. We could all learn something from that one.