I Don’t Know

I’ve been listening to a lovely song by Lisa Hannigan, called I Don’t Know.

I’m  inspired to reflect yet again on the importance of connecting with other people and listening to their stories.

When I meet you, I don’t know anything about you.

I don’t know what your special gifts are; I don’t know what challenges you most. I don’t know what you like or what you don’t like to do.

I don’t know what joys and pains have carved out your being. And I don’t know what makes your spirit soar.

I don’t know until I listen to your story. Until I bring open ears and an open heart to time spent with you. I don’t know until I ask. And, as Alan Alda once said:

The difference between listening and pretending to listen, I discovered, is enormous. … Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you. When I’m willing to let them change me, something happens between us that’s more interesting than a pair of duelling monologues.

Here’s Lisa Hannigan singing I Don’t Know:

I also love the way that Lisa, as she sings, cuts paper to make a beautiful world out of the blank room in which she begins.

For me it was a reminder that listening to your story also helps me build my own world – because listening to your story helps me re-story my own.


  1. What a great quote by Alan Alda. I’m afraid I’ve been in a few dueling monologues in my time…it’s a hard habit to break. And you’re absolutely correct, sharing stories is critical. I’ve heard people suggest that personal blogs are simply vain/narcissistic expressions by insecure people. I couldn’t disagree more (well, maybe that part about insecure is a little accurate). Blogging is an important connection point, and sharing one’s story is actually a selfless act. It takes courage to communicate our fears/dreams/etc in such a way, and when you find a blog that does so in a way that resonates with you, it can have a huge impact.

    Thanks for sharing your own, Sue. :)

    • Hi Jeb .. thank you for your comment, and I too resonate with the ‘insecure’ bit … :) But I think that’s mostly to do with the fact that when we blog we do share something of ourselves. As with any writing we share from the heart – even when as informally as in a blog – we are putting a part of ourselves ‘out there’, open to inspection, dissection … and the risk of rejection. :) Which also definitely chimes with your description of it as a ‘selfless act’ that takes courage. Something that was also a reflection of mine in a previous post: “A Breath of Kindness“, where I shared one of my favourite poems on that particular theme. :)

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