Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Listening Life Raft

--by twocents, posted Sep 24, 2006

She recognized my face, but didn't know my name.  It didn't seem to matter though.  For me, it had been more than two years since I saw her, but my guess was that this had nothing to do with  me.  She had gone through a lot, that much was clear.  In the past, it was tough to tell if her continual distress was a result of on-going chaos or the residual mental effects of prior suffering.  Not only was she not open about this, but found ways to inappropriately interject her own issues into any conversation and lead it down a negative path, which meant that most people would try and end their conversation with her in the first minute.

The moment I was free, she rushed over to talk to me.  We moved quickly from the opening pleasantries to heavy issues-- abuse, immigration matters, law suits, discrimination, exploitation-- that had all been a part of her recent past.  What a relief to know that it was a part of her past!  Yet one thing was clear, and had always been clear; she just needed someone to listen to her.  Though there were many others I wanted to talk to, I decided that she was getting my love today.

I filled myself with good feelings, and then just listened.  And listened.  And listened some more.  Though I did actually speak a bit, this was entirely unneccesary.  She spoke for more than 30 minutes, until finally someone pulled her away to leave. So many people around us sink into despair, when something as simple as lending them our ears and our smiles keeps them afloat.  That day, my listening was her life raft.
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Readers Comments

Rajni wrote: Everyone of us has good or bad stories to tell others, as such, listeners are needed to satisfy the urge of those story tellers. You did a wonderful job of listening. To just listen for 30 minutes in this fast paced world is not an easy joke. You did a wonderful job. May others get inspired to follow suit.
thaata wrote: Listening, not hearing, is what is needed in today's world. People want the warmth of a relationship, a touch, a hug, a smile, a listening mind and heart. All these definitely are life rafts to someone out there. Thanks for a life raft.
suchitra wrote: Yes, this is the art of deep listening which enriches the receiver as well as the giver.It is a wonderful feeling to be able to tell one's feelings to a sincere listener& not be condemned or looked down upon.All the problems would be solved without much ado.
Lorrine wrote: This is a reminder to us that sometimes we only need to listen. Not everyone wants our opinion, just our attention.
Angela wrote: I had a similar experience last week. I was the one doing all the talking and but my friend said a few key things that turned my attitude around. Sometimes we get stuck in negativity & it helps having someone listen. God bless you for being there for her.

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