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Lessons that sting

It is through my interactions with people that I am often faced with my own imperfection.

Let me explain.

The conviction for my own insensitivity happened as I chatted with a neighbor who I haven't seen all summer. She asked, "How's your summer going?" My response, "Not the greatest. I lost my mother and so it's been quite an adjustment for me." Her response, "Oh how old was she?" When I answered "95", her response was a hand waving as if to indicate I must have known it was coming. Then she continued to describe in great detail the circumstances surrounding her parents and their deaths.

I have to admit that I didn't enjoy this conversation at all and I walked away with a sour taste in my mouth. Obviously, that's why I'm writing about it!

However, this woman's response isn't what grabbed me most. It's the conviction that I'm sure many times I didn't really "listen" to someone and decided to ramble on about my own story. If I have done this to you, dear reader, please accept my apology. I know that this lack of kindness really stings.

God, please teach me to listen with all my heart and to extend your selfless compassionate ear to everyone I encounter.

"Listening is the oldest and perhaps the most powerful tool of healing. It is often through the quality of our listening and not the wisdom of our words that we are able to affect the most profound changes in the people around us. Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

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