Make Time to Listen

3 Sep

Make time to listen….. To the birds singing in the morning

Make time to listen…. To your kids talk about their day

Make time to listen…. To your heart

I think there are many people who would say they’ve listened to the above. They may have shared in a special moment with their kids by making them feel special or learned about who they are by following the guidance of their heart.

But have you MADE the time to LISTEN to someone much older than you? Have you heard their stories? Asked their advice? Learned from them?

This past week at work, I had the opportunity to speak with and interview a woman in her 80’s at the local nursing home for an article I was writing. She was the sweetest, most adorable and genuine person I think I have ever met. She had the kindest words about the individuals who care for her and for her “family” there. And when we were done talking (our interview went close to 1 hour and 15 minutes), she took me on a personal tour of the facility. She practically lit-up when she showed me her puzzle room! (When we were talking, I learned that her favorite pass time was putting together 1,000 – 1,500 piece puzzles!) Her current puzzle was the of the New England colonies.

It was so hard to say goodbye, but knowing I would be back to take her picture the next afternoon made it easier. She was so easy to talk with and we did just that before, during and after her photo shoot with her puzzle.

She spoke of her only child, a son, and you could feel her love for him radiating around the room. She told me stories about her and her sister as kids…. the ones where they were fighting and picking on each other just for the heck of it, those were the ones I could most easily relate to as I have two younger sisters of my own. Then there were stories about living during the Great Depression. It broke my heart, and yet she said their shoes may have been falling apart, but her family never went hungry. It taught her to always appreciate the things she had in life. She learned the things she wanted were worth putting forth the effort and time.

She has such a way with words and could connect with me on a deeper level so I could feel the emotion of the stories. I got the feeling she was lonely, and was excited I was there to share part of the day with her. That made saying goodbye much harder on that second afternoon. Yet, I will see her again as soon as she finishes her puzzle! I promised that if she called, I’d come take her picture with the finished masterpiece. You would have thought I’d promised her the world!!

I know I thoroughly enjoyed my time with her, and I spent that second day counting down the hours! It’s hard to put into words, but there is something I find so enjoyable about spending time with old souls. They have so much wisdom and I wish I was a sponge so I could soak it all up!

And before I left, she called me a Peach. She touched my heart when she said I was a wonderful person to speak with. She told me how much talking with me meant to her and how I helped her remember stories and feelings she’d long forgotten. Those were the sweetest compliments she could have possible given me.

While that is about as much as I can tell you about my visit with her, I did have the opportunity to have a similar conversation with my grandparents a few months back. For a class project, we had to record and edit an interview with someone, and it just felt right to capture the stories of my grandparents. It was the prefect setting to learn all about their childhood, hopes, dreams and life. And I got to hear their advice for my cousins and I. With over an hour of footage to work with, here’s what I came away with. Enjoy!

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I love how this turned out! And I love that I have these stories for future generations. They are priceless as they are being told by my grandparents in their own words and body gestures. I only wish more families took the time to preserve family stories, memories and moments like this!!i

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