Everyone has a story tell; unfortunately, not everyone has someone to listen. There are people all around us who are lonely and just need to know that someone cares. It doesn’t matter what socioeconomic class they may be in, loneliness is an equal opportunity emotion.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the privilege of meeting two individuals. Because of their unique circumstances, they have found themselves struggling. They’ve both worked hard all their lives. Neither expected their golden years to be what they’ve become. And neither has allowed their situation to break their spirit.
As I sat listening to their individual stories, I realized that I had a been given an overwhelming privilege by becoming their friend. I tried to soak up every moment of our time together. But most of all, I listened and prayed that I wouldn’t trivialize their lives by my attempts to justify a program service. I appreciated how they shared their stories with honesty and insight. They thoughtfully answered my questions and then smiled for my camera.
While both made an impact on me too deep to describe here on this blog, I find it fitting to acknowledge my time with them during NaBloPoMo. Because I will forever carry their stories in my heart.
There are thousands of others just waiting to tell their stories. Will you stop and listen? Or simply give a stranger a smile? How many of us have hurriedly passed a stranger on the street, hoping not to catch their eye? Why do we do that? Is it because we’re too busy in our own lives to give a few minutes to another human being? Or is it because we don’t want to be burdened with the unfortunate side of life? Afraid that we might somehow expose our own pain by listening to theirs?
I challenge you, my readers, to go outside of your comfort zone and find a way to listen to a stranger’s story. You’ll be rewarded for the effort, and they will know that they matter and aren’t alone in this world.