Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Listening Even When You Don't Understand

--by trivedidrishti, posted Apr 14, 2018
I'm currently at a unique university, an inclusive campus where 46 speech and hearing impaired students graduate each year. I have been doing one on one sessions with these students to help them get clear on their goals, have a reality check of where they are and have a plan in place for next three months. Every morning, I made it a practice of setting the intention in my heart of "May I be an instrument for them to get what they need right now."

And for the last two days , I am seeing a few of them overflowing and sharing in kind. Though they communicate with very speedy sign language that I'm still new to picking up,  I'm enjoying their ability to express themselves so joyously.

Today, an incredible thing happened. One girl came at around 11:30 AM and sat down. I started with how we usually do. She can speak but not hear and lip read. So she started speaking in Tamil. When I told her that I can't speak Tamil, she spoke in English.

I asked one question, and she went on for 10 minutes straight, and in Tamil. I understood a couple of words here and there (amma, appa, anna), so I understood that she was not saying something related to what I asked. So I paused for few seconds and then she again went on. I was just looking straight in her eyes and smiling. To be honest, I don't know why was I smiling, but with many pauses of a few seconds to a few minutes, I just kept on listening to her without uttering a word. This went on for an hour and  a half!

Then, after a long pause, I told her to get back on track with another question. And then she shared for another half an hour straight!

The whole time I was just looking in her eyes which would go here and there but come back to me. And I could see tears coming in her eyes but never rolling down. When she began, she was speaking so loudly and then suddenly she would slow down. So much so that she didn't even realize that she was just speaking too low or just moving her lips.

I have absolutely no idea what she spoke for these 3 hours, but what I know is that I was present for whatever she was sharing and also started understanding a bit in between. A couple of times, I would interject with a simple question: Are you happy?  And she would continue on.

I was certainly happy, because I saw her smiling in the end. At the end, I just got up and hugged her and she was smiling even wider.

Then I spontaneously invited her to have juice with me. She said yes. I treated her to her favorite juice -- which also led to lively conversation.

What put me in a state of awe was realizing, just a few minutes later, that treating my new friend to some juice was the first celebration of my very first salary! A month ago, I started my very first ever job, and what a blessing to have this milestone in my life be rooted in generosity.

I am left feeling grateful for so many people that have listened to me over the years. Today, I was able to help someone else feel heard. That small act of kindness put me in the perfect spot to start this next phase of my life.
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Readers Comments

leoladyc728 wrote: you really are good at your job. such patience
gloriousday wrote: Powerful testament to the healing power of just witnessing and companioning someone. Bless you!
Lilijourney wrote: Savoring your gratiude
mish wrote: What a spectacular way to celebrate the first celebration of your very first salary! I see much joy in this next phase of your life ❤️
1sher wrote: I love that you listened! Wonderful, gracious you! Sometimes it is the most important thing you can do~
patjos wrote: Thank you so much
mindyjourney wrote: Thank you for listening past any communication barrier to the truth at the heart of all ❤️. Congratulations on your job that gives such service :))

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