Just Nod if You Can Hear Me

Do you feel like you are talking to yourself? It’s as if no matter how many times you say something to someone they act like it’s the first time they’re hearing it. Or even better they act like they never heard it at all and so you keep repeating yourself and wondering why aren’t they hearing ? are they listening? Probably because they’re not. It seems that we are so tied up in ourselves that we have lost the art of listening we hear people, but do we really listen? In so many aspects of our lives we are now forced to interact in ways that we never had to before and so many people are at a loss because of it. Is anyone listening?

Since the dawn of dishes, parents have been demanding chores of their children. Although it does seem though at some point, at least the way historians tell it, kids did chores without being asked they just seem to wake up before the sun to go out and do their duties and then hike uphill to school in the snow with paper bags for shoes and then hike back home uphill for the evening chores. Have we gone to slack? Have we morphed into a society that no longer holds people responsible? People blame it on bad parenting, working mothers, technology, you name it they blame it.

I would argue that we’ve morphed into a society that doesn’t think enough about other people. We are so busy trying to make sure our point is heard that we often forget that our points are stabbing into other people. Into their spaces, into their thoughts, into their hearts. We are not alone in this universe, we’re not even alone in most of our homes having been held hostage by this pandemic. Is anyone listening?

Do you hear your children telling you that school is too hard? Do you hear your friends saying that they can’t handle it anymore? Your coworkers, your neighbors, people in the grocery store? We all walk around with this gaze on our faces as if we have turned into semi zombies. But is anybody listening?

Today I watched a woman at the grocery store kindly go up to an older frail gentleman who was packing his car and offered to take his buggy in for him. The look in his eyes were sheer amazement. He responded with “are you sure you’re OK to touch my cart? What if you catch something?“ And the woman and her young child responded “we care more about making you smile for the day sir than anything else.“ The man proceeded to ask a little girl her name and they shared a small conversation as I loaded up my groceries. And it made me think the acts of kindness that we used to do seem to have lost their place because we have to keep ourselves 6 feet away from those we would be kind to. Can we find new ways to be kind? Can we listen to each other and hear what we need? Are you listening?

Pandemic or not, it’s still severely irritates me when I say some thing of importance, and people pay it no mind. Sometimes I feel like I should be yelling fire before I start speaking because maybe somebody would listen. Of course eventually they would figure out there’s no fire and they would put it into the same place where they put everything else into the mute area of their minds. As if my voice is suddenly silence the minute it begins to speak. I’m not asking for much, just do your job. Whether it be your job as an employee, your job as a partner, your job as a member of your family, your job of a member of a team. But above all else, ask it with a sense of kindness. The more we shout and bark at each other I think the less our ears work.

My son said something this morning that was hysterical. And I love the way we both laughed at his comments and we’re so grateful for the fact that we could find humor in the fact that it was an hour later than he thought it was. Thus meaning a virtual day home from school rather than a day in person. But if I wasn’t listening, I would’ve missed it. In the moment would have been gone and I never would’ve realized it. Listen to each other, because you never know when something amazing might be said and that will be just the thing to help you keep your sanity for that day.

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