Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Listening with Love

 I wish with all my heart that I could get this picture to upload.  Actually, I have several I want to share with you from Thanksgiving.  But there is just one that drew it all together for me.

Please be patient as I try to describe the back story.  

This summer, we started dreaming about making a family trip to the mountains for Thanksgiving.  The idea gained traction and before long, family vacation at Banner Elk, NC 2022 was on the roll.  Each family would be able to have their own little cabin.  (Space is important when you have ten children and eight adults who all have different sleep schedules.)

We were able to break up the long drive by meeting first in SC. Then on Monday, we drove together to see Grandmother Hawley.  All eighteen of us congregated at Mom's favorite restaurant.  (Yes, we called the day before to let them know we were coming.)

They were able to seat us right away.  But that had to wait for all the hugging and squeezing that comes when family hasn't seen one another for a long time. This was also Grandmother's first time to meet Olivia Rae McGhee.  It was a special moment.

We got pictures.  Lots of pictures.  But it wasn't until later in the afternoon that I found my favorite.  It's one of those moments you didn't even realize would strike you so strongly.

Madi Smith is probably one of our quietest grands.  Make no mistake, she has plenty to say.  She just doesn't talk until she's sure you're listening.  In this picture, Grandmother is looking directly into Madi's eyes.  Even with all the chaos swirling around them, it's clear that Madi has Great Grandmother's undivided attention.  And she's talking.

I love the picture because it shows Mom Hawley doing what she did so often when my own girls were little.  We would finally arrive after our long road trip and all the hugging would commence.  We would unload the car then Frank and I would promptly say our good nights and head for bed. 

But not Mom.  She would sit at the kitchen table and listen just as long as our three girls would keep talking.  Sometimes they stayed awake until the early hours of the morning.  The girls laughing, telling stories and all the while Grandmother listening intently to each one, asking questions, laughing with them.  

I vividly remember many times falling asleep with a smile on my face because their sweet voices were drifting down the hallway.  I was thankful for the experience my girls were enjoying.

To capture that picture with one more generation "being heard" was incredibly special.

My question for you today is this:  who in your life needs to be heard? Who has information ready to share if they could just sense someone was really listening?  May I encourage you, be the one to ask the questions.  Let them know you care by offering your undivided attention.

It may not seem so important at the moment but then again, you may be making a memory that will live on long after you.  My girls will never forget sitting with Grandmother at her kitchen table.  They felt heard and even more, they felt loved.

Don't miss your opportunity to listen and share love this Christmas season.