November 9, 2021
Reflections, Day 32
“Rainy Day People always seem to know when it’s time to call.
Rainy Day people don’t talk, they just listen til they’ve heard it all
Rainy day people don’t lie when they tell you they’ve been down like you.
Rainy day people don’t mind if you cry a tear or two.”—Gordon Lightfoot
One day my mother said, “John, look at my forehead. Do you see anything?”
“It’s a nice forehead,” I replied. “It has smile wrinkles on it sometimes.”
“That’s what I thought,” she said. “You don’t see it. Sometimes I think that I have a tattoo on my forehead that says ‘tell me your troubles.’ A lot of people feel comfortable in telling me about their problems and hardships. Not everyone can see the tattoo, but there are a lot of people who do see it.”
“What is their reaction to it?”
“Well, they will tell me things like what is wrong in their life, about grief that they feel at the loss of a loved one, about financial worries, about their child who is not performing on an acceptable level. Things like that.”
“Wow,” I said, “what kind of advice do you give them?”
“Oh, John, they’re not asking for advice. They just want me to listen.
They don’t want me to tell them about Aunt Freda’s husband’s mother who had it worse.
They want me to listen.”
“So you don’t say anything?”
“I will say, ‘uh huh’ and nod, or I’ll say something like, ‘tell me more.’ Sometimes I will ask, ‘and how does that make you feel?’”
“But if you don’t give them advice, how do you help them?”
“I help them by listening. I give them the opportunity to organize and voice the things that are troubling them. I don’t say anything…
I sat and listened to her.
She touched a lot of people.
Photo by Mary de Wit
One thought on “Listen…”
What a beautiful photo of your mother. She smiled with her eyes. (You can cover her face in this picture from the eyes down and still see that she’s smiling!), What a blessing that she was an active listener. Most people can hear, but not very many people are skilled in the art of listening.