I am always amazed at what people are willing to tell me. Seriously. So many times I am left in a perpetual state of confoundment at what people are willing to confide. Oh sure, I am personable enough with my friends because I know that I can let my hair down with them and for the most part they remain nonjudgmental. With strangers, I am often very awkward. I can hold my own in polite conversation with the sales clerk at the store, but beyond that I actually hold very antisocial traits.
That is not to say I am antisocial to the point my genius uncle was. He would cross the street so he wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. He even taught himself to knit his own sweaters; less shopping and store clerks. Nope. I am more the fidgety, antisocial type. You know the type, foot doodlers or people who can’t sit still. You wouldn’t want to sit next to me on a plane.
Because I know this about myself, I am always amazed that people reach out and start random conversations with me. Perhaps I’m a good listener? Yesterday at the art show, one of the artists told me all about their personal finances, how their credit cards are maxed out and how they just received an inheritance they intend to use to expand their art business. Today, while waiting outside the fitting room for one of my child units to try on hoodies, the sweetest little old lady came up to me and started to tell me about her grandkids and great-grandkids. She told me all about how her family is that of the fiancé of Jonathan Bird. He was the man who was bludgeoned to death by the 5 derelict teens in Wylie two years ago last November.
She told me how Mr. Bird’s almost step son had witnessed the tragic death and now they were at Kohl’s trying to find some clothes to wear for the beginning of the trial tomorrow of Ethan Dorris. (http://www.wylienews.com/articles/templates/news.asp?articleid=3647&zoneid=4)
As if this young man hadn’t been through enough two years ago, here he was, stressed out, trying to find something to wear that made him feel good about himself, knowing he has to relive those horrific events yet again, but this time as a witness on the stand. Will it never end for this poor family?
Normally, I am so utterly and overly impatient, I would have been not only foot doodling, but knee waddling, and perhaps even tapping my fingers because my son was taking forever to try on zip-up hoodies. Come on. However, once this woman began talking to me, she was so compelling that I was actually glad my son was taking so long so that I could be there for her. Really be there.
This lovely woman’s story made me slow down and think about the upcoming holiday season and forget about all the pesky tasks that I wish were already on my todone list. I am so honored that I was there for this complete stranger who just needed to not own her pain today. Again, I was a good listener.
This woman made me remember that this season is about caring, sharing, and understanding and so I hope that as you prepare for your Christmas activities, you will keep this family in your thoughts.