Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Gift of Listening

I have a friend who is easily one of my very favorite people in the whole world. I admire her beyond measure. When I first met her (12 years ago), I was struck by her ability to listen. What a gift it was! Although my friend has many amazing things that I love about her, her unique ability to listen stands out. She engages. She asks questions. She draws me out. It makes me feel valued. It makes me feel loved. Before I met her, I didn't realize that I spoke very fast, quickly trying to say what I wanted to say before someone else started speaking. I didn't think anyone really wanted to hear me. And the truth is, most people don't listen. I still struggle with verbally expressing myself and it is a bit unnerving when people really listen. 

I recently met a man who also has this gift and offers it unselfishly to complete strangers. He is a photojournalist who travels around finding everyday people with remarkable stories of suffering and overcoming. 

He ran across "The Scar Project" and had this reaction:
"This got me thinking about the different scars we carry as individuals and how much more powerful they could be if we could gracefully expose them. My hope is that through my writing and my photography that I can help people put a voice to their stories when they may not have been able to find the words or images on their own."

A few months ago, he contacted me because he wanted to hear my story. And when we met, he didn't offer advice. He didn't judge. He didn't try to solve my problems. He just listened.

Through his silence, he offers hope and healing.

Take some time to explore his blog and read the stories. Some might offend you. Some you might identify with. You will find some amazing people who have been able to share their stories, because someone listened.

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