Saturday, June 2, 2012


A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, violent one, the other wolf is the loving compassionate one." The grandson asked him, "Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?" The grandfather answered, "The one I feed".

This has always been a favorite of mine. We all yearn to be heard, listened to, understood, and shown that we matter, that we make a difference. How often has some one actually sat with you and listened to you?

Most are too busy multi tasting to actually hear you pleading to be heard. You can hear the paper rusting in the background of the key board of the computer in fast forward or scrolling through email on their smart phone. They say they are listening but their attention is in many other places. You feel as if you do not matter in the slightest. So why even bother? Why even talk?

My most special friend stops whatever she is doing when I phone. She talks to me, hears me, and understands that I need that time to share things with her that I can't with anyone else. She isn't writing or reading or counting the cans in the cupboard, she is there for me...just me. If it is not a convenient time, and she has other things that need attention, she asks if she can call me back when she can give me her full attention. I matter to her. I am the one she is 'feeding' at that time. And for that I am grateful.

There are so many people that give you lip service. They nod their heads to indicate they are listening, but you know that their minds and thoughts are elsewhere. I find this ultimately rude, selfish behavior. But in this world of texting, tweeting, and instant gratification what happened to real communication? What happened to sitting and holding the hand of someone in pain who needs to have his/her soul fed, her tears dried, and her grief understood.

I look back on days when I was fully present for people. What it meant to them was extraordinary. Later communication indicated that that was all they had really needed at that time. A person who listened, heard and understood.

One a soldier just back from Afghanistan we was suffering from the death of his two battle buddies...why did he live...why wasn't he dead. He should be. He wanted to be. He talked I listened.

Another a lady whose son had been in a car accident and he was completely paralyzed. The tears in her eyes poured as she asked what would happen to him when she died.

Another a wife, whose husband had had a stroke. She had all the hope and faith in the world that he would recover. He did not. She fell onto my shoulder and wept.

Not all of our conversations and moments are as dramatic, perhaps just a nightmare we had, or concerns over our children, or an illness in the family. Or just wanting to share your day with someone. Or a much needed laugh. Or to see how their day is. To reach matter.

This is a gift. A human response.

I am reminded of the story of an elderly lady who often dialed the wrong number, but always the same wrong number, one number off. Her voice was always weak and frail. She was calling her son. It is always at 6:00 am...she calls so she can tell him that she is okay. Then one time she called the wrong number. The lady who always answered told her that if ever it was an emergency to feel free to call her and she would send help.

Now that is listening and caring and hearing and the kind of response we all want.

Having time to hear a story is a gift for someone who wants to tell you a story. They might be lonely, tired, afraid, ill, or desperate. Sometimes we just need an audience that just might give us vigor, peace, and comfort for the rest of the day.

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