May – Stop and Listen

Once a friend asked me what my favorite part of life is. “People. Definitely the people in my life,” I replied. The way each person has his or her own story to tell has always fascinated me. I cherish each story that has been entrusted to me, for with each story I have had a glimpse into the human soul.

Many strangers pass through my life each day, but I have learned that if I take the time to stop and listen, I will find that their story was worth waiting for. With each new individual I meet, it is a chance to view the world through another pair of eyes.

The other day I went to a wedding whereupon I met a woman who had recently celebrated her 100th birthday! Her face was wrinkled and stained from the sun, her hands were delicate and shook as they moved, and her hair was white and thinning. Despite her antediluvian image, she still had one child-like characteristic; her eyes shone as brightly as that of a child on Christmas morning. Her mind was still crisp and clear showing no signs of old age. Her words were well articulated, smoothly rolling off her tongue. As I sat and spoke with her I was in awe of her adventures. Born in 1900 she had danced the Charleston in the Roaring 20‘s, she had worked to make ends meet during the Great Depression, and she kissed her son good-bye during World War II. Outliving her husband and one of her own children were the two most difficult experiences she had ever faced. While listening, I realized she had seen everything, the good and the bad. Yet after all of this, there was still a twinkle in her eye. What I admire most about this woman is her zest for life. Though the woman did not outwardly tell me what a precious gift life is and how she treasured every moment of every day, her eyes told me this. After seeing over a century those eyes never seemed to tire of life, but always seemed to sparkle for today.

As everyone’s life is different, some never feeling unloved, hungry, or losing a loved one, it is inevitable that we all will experience pains and suffering at some point in our life. For life is full of ups and downs. My wish to each of you for Mother’s Day is that no matter what life brings your own eyes will be able to sparkle as brightly as those of the old woman’s. While watching her newlywed great granddaughter floating across the dance floor, the
woman’s eyes sparkled with sheer joy. I asked her what her favorite part of life had been. She replied “people, definitely the people in my life!”