We have been hearing a lot of bad news in the world lately, and with all that is happening it is easy to find ourselves despairing at the state of the world. It certainly seems that there is a fair share of darkness that has been dominating lately. I wanted to offer a little light, and the reminder that things are not always what they seem.
The other day I was presenting on my favorite topic to a group of college students, the “Art of Deep Listening”. I always begin the presentation the same way, by asking the group to share the last time that they felt deeply listened to. It is interesting to see the themes emerge and hear people share their stories of feeling loved through listening. According to my informal poll, it seems that mothers and best friends are the best listeners.
One of the young woman shared about how the night before as she had been stressing about finals, and overwhelmed with everything she had to do her roommate deeply listened. She never told her that she was overreacting, she didn’t tell her to suck it up, or try to show her all that she did had under control, or share with her all of her solutions. Instead, she listened generously, shared her presence for as long as it was needed, and then, she made her a waffle for breakfast that morning.
And sure enough, after a good night of sleep, feeling heard and understood the world seemed a lot more manageable, and whatever was looming large the night before seemed to fall into place, at least a little bit. But the kind act of being provided for, of being nurtured and cared about “fixed” what was “broken”. Her roommate knew a secret that we too often forget… sometimes things aren’t meant to be fixed, or changed in that moment, it is in these small acts of kindness, of nurturing that we heal each other. It is in these small acts of compassion that we remind each other that the world can be a safe place. It is in offering a safe space to be that healing can happen.
When we can offer a soft place to land for those we love, when we can share with one another our little acts of love, we light up the world.
And we could all use a little more light in the world.