A Walk in the Park

I met my friend Tina in the park this afternoon and we walked around a simple loop that encompasses a local park.  She is struggling with quite a bit right now and just wanted to talk things out.  We looped countless times around the park as she ranted and cried and told me all about the challenges she has been facing.  Anyone in her shoes would do the same.  Times are tough for her right now.  As we walked, I noticed a few things start to happen.  I wasn’t saying a word.  I was simply listening and giving her signs that I knew and understood what she was telling me.  Slowly, I noticed her voice started to get softer and her words weren’t as angry.  And she started to think things through for herself, tossing out ideas for steps she might take to improve her situation.  I continued to nod and “uh-huh” and “mmhmm”.  By the time we completed our final lap, Tina had a plan in her mind and she was ready to take appropriate actions.

After I said goodbye to my friend, I decided I would do a few more laps myself . . .it was a beautiful afternoon.  I noticed an older couple walking hand in hand just ahead of me.  As I passed, I was struck that they weren’t saying a word to each other, just slowly walking along and enjoying the afternoon together.  My next lap around, I found them sitting on a park bench.  She had her head nestled into the crook of his neck and he had his arm around her shoulders.  Again I noticed they were not saying a word, just sitting quietly enjoying each other’s company.  What a beautiful sight it was to see this couple, in today’s crazy fast paced world, just sitting together and finding peace and quiet with each other.

Both of these situations today made me think back a few years ago when I regularly visited a 97 year old woman named Helen.  I was connected to her through a program that matches people with senior citizens for visiting and companionship.  Helen was a feisty woman at her age.  She did not have any family and all her friends had died or were  bedridden just like her.  I used to sit by her bedside and hold her hand while she complained about her aches and pains, talked about how crazy her husband of 60 plus years used to make her, and sometimes even tell me I should sit up straighter and not slouch so much  :).  She just needed someone to be there with her.  To listen.  To let her voice whatever it was she needed to voice.  I miss Helen.  I miss the gift of slowing down she gave me when I visited her.  The simplicity of just sitting and listening and being a presence for her.

The events of today and thinking back to my visits with Helen just got me thinking . . . .how much more peaceful the world would be if we could make time to slow down and really be present to another person each day.  We DO have the time to do it.  We just have to make it a priority.  I am going to make sure being a presence to someone is on my daily “to do” list.  Will you join me?

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4 Responses to A Walk in the Park

  1. Steve Ruzansky says:

    A beautiful thought to start the month. Thank you.

  2. Sally Kelly says:

    Hi Mo,
    One Monday morning when I was working at the soup kitchen, a man approached me and asked me if I knew of a place that he could sleep and get a shower. I told him about a few places that I knew, and he informed me that he had already tried those places and that they didn’t have any openings except for women and children. He explained that they were only accepting women and children because their shelters were full and men were more self-sufficient. He told me that he didn’t have the support of his family because of all the mistakes he had made over the years and that he didn’t have an ID or money, which was causing him a lot of distress. As he talked and I listened he started to talk about the things that he was grateful for, such as his warm coat and the hot meal that we had just served him. While we talked, there was a man in a mechanic uniform that was sitting within earshot of our conversation. As our conversation ended, the man walked up and said that he knew of a place where the homeless man could stay and get a shower and that he would drive him there. My heart was full of gratitude and I knew his heart was full, too. After we cleaned up the kitchen and I walked out to my car the two men drove past me and waved out their windows. I think I smiled the whole way home.

  3. Kris TX says:

    That is a beautiful story Sally. It made my heart happy and so full of gratefulness. I can’t even imagine how you must of felt to witness that and how those 2 men must of felt. BEAUTIFUL!!! : – )
    God is Good!! Thank you for sharing.

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