Monday, October 02, 2006

Listen--Lend an ear, give a hug

"If you have ears, listen!" Mark 4:23 (TLB)

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” ~ Epictetus

Out for my morning walk, I heard someone call out a greeting. I turned and saw a neighbor who had recently lost her mother. I stopped and offered my sympathy for her loss. She is the same age I was when I lost my mother and has young children.

As she talked about the details of her illness, I remembered how it felt to be able to share the story--the grief with another. The more you shared the lighter the burden of grief seemed. So, I listened.

Then she casually mentioned the death of her brother a few months before. I was shocked. I hadn't heard that he had been killed in an auto accident. I truly felt akin then as I had lost an infant niece shortly after my mother died. Two deaths so close together are so difficult to overcome. I listened again. It wasn't easy. You see, I wanted to share as well. Even so many years after our tragedies, the grief still surfaces. I wanted to give her words that would comfort, would erase the pain, but I knew that was impossible. So, I listened.

When the story was done, I hugged her. I remembered
a hug given to me from someone who looked like my mother. She's my son's age. I hoped she felt her mother's love in that hug.

(©2006 Karen Robbins)

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