First of all, I’m a talker. I tell stories and jokes, keep the conversation going, ask questions and make comments. I’m good at small talk and making strangers feel welcome. At a restaurant, I can get the waiter’s/waitress’ complete history by the time our meal is served.
I’m not usually comfortable with silence in the room. I love the sound of talking, laughing and conversation.
But sometimes . . . . .
As the other day when I just happened to be standing with a friend at church. I asked her how she was.
(Now let me pause here and give you some good Granny advice. Never and I mean NEVER ask anyone how they are unless you are prepared to hear the answer. The whole answer!)
She proceeded to tell me how things were not going well, how the doctors were not able to give her answers, how frightened she was, how out of control she felt.
Believe me when I tell you, I had no jokes, no stories, no small talk, no witty words to make her feel better. I stood there silent, holding her hand and listened until she had no more words.
She thanked me profusely for hearing her. We hugged and cried. Then she said, “You are the only one who understands.”
Truthfully, I didn’t understand anything, except I could identify with her feelings. I had said nothing of any profound use, offered no advice, didn’t even say I understood.
I simply looked into her eyes for what seemed like hours and listened to her story of pain. It doesn’t seem like much, until no one does it. Then the lack of it can be it’s own kind of death.
She and I aren’t even the closest of friends. We see each other at church and church functions and are friendly.
How this all happened this one particular time, this one particular moment and place is a mystery. Or is it?
She was ready and I was ready. One to talk and one to listen.
And you know what? I’m as grateful as she is!!!!