Last!

"Why people write 'first'" venn diagram

Image: Jack Shepherd (Buzzfeed.com)

Back when the internet was a little bit younger, when blogs were a new idea, and when comment boards were a novelty, there was an annoying trend that thankfully has since died out.

The very first comment on each and blog post was always the same.

“First!”

That was it. No response. Just a boast. “First!”

And in the push to be first, I wonder if the commenter even read the post.

We all do this. A lot. We want to be first. The first to talk, the first to be heard. We want to be heard so badly that we don’t stop to listen.

I notice it when my daughter jumps into a conversation without realizing it and talks over everyone. But she’s a kid. She’s still learning.

I notice adults doing it too. Especially on cable TV “news ,” where so-called discussions are really shouting contests, and one who shouts loudest wins. They should know better.

We’re all so determined to be heard that we’ve forgotten how to listen. I wonder if we might learn again if we strive for a new goal.

Not first, but last.

Speak last, so we can hear what other people are saying.

Speak last, so we can consider our words rather than blurting them out.

Speak last, so we can measure our response and be sure it does no harm.

And maybe, while we’re at it, we can get a little bit of a break from all the noise. Maybe we can realize that while some circumstances demand an immediate outcry, others require quiet contemplation.

And ultimately, instead of always jumping in, always wanting to be first, we realize that—in some cases—it’s better to wait.

It’s better to be last.

Five Minute Friday

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9 thoughts on “Last!

    • I thought about writing on that verse, but I’d have so much to say and it’s “Five Minute Friday” not “Five Hour Friday.” (Oh and thank you for resisting the temptation to post you-know-what.)

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      • Just a note… I find that I process things in my head pretty fast… which is why many times I end up interrupting my wife because my head gets ahead of things and I want to jump to the end because I’ve already “seen” much of the big picture…

        …and then it turns out I’m TOTALLY wrong and end up having to apologize. So, even though my brain processes stuff fast, doesn’t mean that I’m right… and I’ve had to painfully learn that discipline of slowing down and listening and even dwelling on something before I reply, even if the person has finished talking…

        On the flip side… in our impatient, immediate, rapid response world, the folks asking the question or presenting the topic end up getting impatient themselves and wanting rapid answers rather than giving space and room to reply. Think about the instance “News Flash” stuff we get on twitter, cable news and the like. Everyone needs to be “first” in order to get the stuff out there as soon as possible and they want the families, the people involved, the government officials, to have an immediate response rather than letting them work through things, follow channels, etc.

        One thing that I find myself telling myself and (in my head) shouting to the world: SLOW DOWN!!!!!

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  1. jcheaney says:

    In such a fast-paced, mobile culture marked by busy-ness, it can be so difficult to wait. To slow down. To listen. Sometimes it feels like if I am not heard, I do not matter. Like I have something to prove. But really, my heart knows the truth. There is nothing I need to do or *can* do to matter to Jesus. He already did it all. And when I am busy and racing to be first, I lose the opportunity to rest in my heavenly Father. I cut in front of him so often, trying to take care of things. And when I wait, when I listen, I am better able to see and experience his incredible presence at work in me and around me.

    Your words are a wonderful reminder that it’s okay to wait and to pause. And to be last.

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  2. I’m not a huge talker. I’m also an introvert. I’d rather “listen” than talk, in other words. However, I realize that I need to be “listened to” as well and that is sometimes hard. People are more than happy to give their two cents about anything and everything and often times are oblivious to the fact that they don’t listen to any of my story!! (this is kind of a soft spot for me) I often say, (mostly to myself, lol) that listening is a lost art. I truly believe that. It takes effort to truly listen sometimes rather than think about how I will respond. Thanks for this great post!

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