Listening

Today I was walking to the bus stop when I heard a woman ask someone for change for a slice of pizza. I made my way to the bench to wait for the bus (which was across the street), and when I looked up I saw the same woman cry in despair as something slipped from her hands and into the road. My first thought was that someone had given her money for pizza and it was currently blowing away. It didn’t surprise me that she stopped traffic to pick it up before it had the chance to blow away.

I was surprised that she seemed so upset though. She almost cried when it appeared that a car might run it over. As it escaped her grasp again, I realized that was literally what it was doing. It was a small mouse that was scurrying around in the street trying not to get run over.
The whole thing reminded me of the scene from Castaway when Wilson is floating away. Everyone watching knew the situation was helpless. A tiny mouse scurrying across four lanes of traffic during rush hour didn’t foreshadow a very happy ending.

I didn’t see if the mouse ever made it to safety, but I did see the lady, incredibly upset, finally decide to give up. I realized this mouse could have been her best friend.

Why is it that a volleyball, a mouse, or for that matter a dog so easily become ‘man’s best friend.’

Maybe it’s because they are so good at listening. No matter what you share with them, they sit and listen. They aren’t waiting for their chance to talk. They are just sitting loving you.

I think I realized then that being a good listener isn’t about being able to sit quietly, a table could do that. It’s about being there to say “I still love you” when the story’s done.

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