Friday, March 20, 2015

 


Ever since my recent airplane travels, I have been thinking a lot about the aspect of
"loneliness" in our world.  Due to somewhat last minute nature of our most recent trip,
my husband and I discovered that we would be sitting at different locations on the plane.
He was in the middle section, and I found myself in the last row, at the back of the plane.
My seat was in between two women, whom I found out later, were mother and daughter.
I quietly buckled my seat belt, then grabbed one of the books that I had brought along
to read.  I smiled a quick smile to the elderly lady(which by the way, what age is elderly
anyway, and she might have surmised the same about me).  The lady on the other side
of me, was immediately absorbed in her magazine.   As the plane climbed, I looked over
at the elderly lady and asked her if she was headed for a vacation, to which she
quickly replied that she was.  At that point, she started talking to me, and aside
from a few questions that I got in to the conversation, she never stopped talking
until we landed at our destination.  Two hours worth of information I received from
my "listening time" on the flight.   I learned immediately, that her beloved husband
had passed away 9 months before from cancer.  I learned that it was a fast moving cancer,
and within a few months, he was gone.  I learned that loneliness took over from that
time on, and that some of her new best friends, were the ever friendly staff of the
QVC network.  Seriously.  She knew their names, their
family dynamics, she knew if they had children or not, their marital statuses, and
how long some of them had been employed by the QVC Network.  She talked so
favorably about each and everyone of them.  She showed me a special purse she
had purchased from them, opening it up and individually showed me each
compartment.  She opened her coat and showed me her lovely blouse, which was
another one of her purchases.  She talked for a long time about a certain brand of
cookware, that everyone should buy, and then proceeded to tell me why that was
true.  On and on she went, talking so lovingly about this Network, that at times, I
almost forgot that it was not her family or personal friends that she was talking
about.  I thought to myself, that I needed to write QVC and make them aware
of another huge aspect of their enterprise.  Since that flight, I have discovered that
there are more people like this dear lady. 

After the plane landed, and I got up to leave my seat, she took my hand and
thanked me in such a genuine fashion, that I found myself asking her why she was
thanking me, to which she immediately replied,  "you listened."  From St. Louis
to St. Paul, I listened.  That's it!  A listener was the role I played in this encounter.


Listening...what a gift it is!  I learned it from my husband years ago.  He is an active,
caring listener.  I was not.  I can tell you, I was one of those listeners that may have
appeared to be listening, but my mind was way ahead in the conversation, and at
times, my mind was not even on the conversation at hand, but maybe off on some
far and distant land, or project:). 


What are some of the characteristics that make up a "good listener"?

I found a brief list of some of the characteristics of listening from Raychelle
Lehmann, MS, LPC, Psychology;

~They pay attention to the person who is speaking.

~They keep eye contact.

~They show interest by nodding or by smiling at appropriate times.

~They make sure that they understand what has been said by repeating it in their
   own words.  For example, a good listener might say, "Do you mean that...?"

~They let the other person finish his or her thoughts without interrupting.

~They ask questions if anything is not clear when the speaker has finished.

I know that this is an abbreviated list, but I think it is a good one.  I also read another
characteristic recently, that stated you should be "genuinely curious", when you are
listening.  I like that!  I know people that are genuinely curious when you talk to them,
and you know what?  They have many friends!  People like that characteristic...if it
is truly genuine.

Another characteristic that I believe to be true, is a good listener knows how to handle
what is shared with confidentiality.  They are trustworthy.  This type of person would
also have many friends.  "Confidentiality" is a rare quality in today's world.


You may not be taking any upcoming plane trips, but you will come in contact with others
day in and day out, and maybe this shared list, may help to enlighten you in the extra
special gift of listening, that we extend on a daily basis, to those around us...no matter
what their age...


...or needs, because one thing is for sure, and that is, we all need each other!
We all need to know that we do matter, and that what we think and say, is important.


"Loneliness" hurts, and makes life more difficult to live.  My prayer is, that we all spend
more time reaching out to others, and listening to what others have to say.  We might be
surprised at what we can learn from others, like the big difference those on QVC might
make in the lives of those who tune in, on a daily basis.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I am participating in a "Baking Contest" this
weekend with my 7 year old granddaughter, at her church.  I will let you know some of
the happenings with that fun event, when it is over.  Stay tuned.  We already did our baking,
last evening.  Tomorrow morning, the fun begins.

Happy Friday!  Guess what...it is snowing here again:)

13 comments:

Stacey said...

Judy, you were in that seat on the airplane for a reason. This post is definitely something to think about.

Have fun at the baking contest!

Debbie said...

Good morning...You have given us all something to think about and remember as always. It's just soo true. I find especially the elderly need someone to "listen" and to talk to them. How lonely so many of them are anymore with really no one to listen to whats on their minds and hearts. We DO need each other don't we? Enjoy your week-end!

Christine said...

What a gift you gave to the lady next to you. Listening is almost a lost art.

"Of all the identified marks of a Christian, Jesus said,Love would be the one thing that give us away."

You gave her love by listening.

debi said...

So true, there is much loneliness int the world. I try and spot people sitting my themselves at church or new faces...Make a point to let them know I noticed them. I had your same experience last time I flew, I felt as though we were friend never to see each other again.

Hugs!

Lea said...

Just like someone said, God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. I think it is to be a good listener with. Great post!

Liz said...

What a blessing you must have been to that lady during your flight! Or maybe a blessing to you as well!

corners of my life said...

Bless your heart for listening. Airplane conversations scare me so I usually "keep to myself". It is a blessing that you sat next to Mrs. QVC.

janie said...

Enjoy your blog. I always learn something.

Thanks for sharing and reminding me of a skill I need to learn.

Enjoy the day, Janie

Sassy Granny ... said...

Now that I have a lump in my throat I simply must say: beautiful! There are indeed a good many lonely or hurting people in our world. And such a simple, inexpensive (though costly) gift of a listening ear is precious.

I swept through scenes of travel, birds, sheep, cinnamon rolls, decorations and so much more. I wonder if you ever get to sit down?

As always, a visit here is a tonic.

Hugs,
Kathleen

Happy@Home said...

Although I have not met you in person, I sense that you are a very good listener. You have highlighted the qualities of a good listener so well in this post. It is truly a gift and I am thinking the gift you gave to this dear lady was more valuable to her than any material object she may have received.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Listening...conversing...engaging with others...all seem quite rare these days. It's what we all need more of! You did just that...and allowed a lonely soul to share her heart with you. Great post!

lindsey said...

Great post Judy and a great reminder to me that I should always remember to listen more than I speak :)

Anneliese said...

I love that you shared this and that, instead of feeling like your time was wasted talking to a stranger, you used this to encourage someone by listening.
She will probably never forget you. I agree that good genuine listeners who can keep things under their hat, make for the best of friends.

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