As a writer I have learned a lot about story reading and story telling. But there is one aspect that I have also learned but didn’t realize until I decided to write about it! Story listening.
Yesterday I had the privilege of sitting with my neighbor and listening to her recent struggle about saying yes or no to one of the many obligations that came her way.
It was time for the annual tea at her church. She had done it for two years running, but this year was particularly busy and she wasn’t excited, didn’t feel she even had the time to shop or set it up. She is a busy woman, so who would blame her if she didn’t say yes this year.
My day was changed, because of our conversation. It put me in the mindset of looking at my life. How was I living it? Was I giving it my all or just putzing around looking for ways to please myself? Before she came that morning I had been mostly thinking about what I wanted to do that day, things I wanted to accomplish.
Our conversation helped me see the value of looking for ways to help others. And what the reward had been to her, even though initially she had tried to avoid the annual tea.
My friend had a very tight schedule for the day of the tea so prayed and asked God, that if He wanted her to sponsor a table at the tea to show her. She prayed and sensed the answer was yes. Her second prayer was to ask God to do it inexpensively, so she went shopping.
She did her best to buy something beautiful and yet save as much money as possible. She found a beautiful white table cloth that was on sale for $7.99 (its original price much higher). When she got to the front there was a “special” going on and she paid eighty cents for it! That was sign number one.
On the day of the tea she he set up her table and it was lovely. The group of ladies were a blessing and she finished, and packed up her things. Because she had such a tight schedule, immediately after the tea, she rushed to pick up her friend for Bingo and they slid in late. She won about $40. That was sign number two.
And the best news was when a couple of days later, the husband of one of the ladies that sat at her table came up and talked to her. He told her that his wife feared coming alone, and did so, only because she could bring a couple of extra ladies. He told my friend how much his wife loved the tea and sitting at her table. That was sign number three, which my friend said, was the best one of all.
Whew…by the time she got through telling me all the details, I was ready to jump up and set up my own tea-table!
As time passes, I’m beginning to realize I learn so much more when I sit with someone one-on-one.