Friday, December 10, 2010

Thank you, Listening Ear


Listening Ear, you are often all I need.  A solution in yourself.
To be heard, to be acknowledged,
to be given space in which to differ.

You are evidenced by Fritz' mother telling me how he explained, Emma J is going to write.  Don't infringe on her writing.  It's who she is.  You are evidenced by that full circle of forbearance and message passed and received.

You are the young daughterly doctor who, when there is no time for this week's testing, says instead, That's fine.  Why don't you just tell me how you're doing? and for my allotted fifteen minutes probes by words only, and then writes up a prescription of goals that addresses more than symptoms.

You are preeminently my mother's ear where for years and years I have laid out everything at once until I can see what I'm saying and begin to untangle.

But not everyone believes in you, Listening Ear.  A friend, a woman of great sense and reliable kindness, recently said, Nobody likes to listen to someone who complains. 

Which gave me pause.

Because I do. 

Well, yes, complain, obviously.  But also, I do actually like to hear other people's sorrows, their secret stories and also the sideshows they put on to talk themselves up and over the present challenge. 

Listening to complaints seems to me a useful way to recognize my scattered kindred - if I like the way a person whines and grouses, if their moans melt my heart and their rants encourage me and their kvetching fills me with delight and  if I can get them to laugh in turn when I traipse out my own complaint, trailing its tragicomedienne rags and banners, then I know we're kissing cousins somehow.

Besides I don't know if I quite trust someone who never complains.  Or I wouldn't if  I actually met such an one. 

I do know people who say they never complain.  And  have listened to them as well . . .

I suppose I can think of one or two to whom I have never come close enough to be trusted with any private lament.  Should one be grateful to them for their reticence?

But I am most heartily grateful for the ears that have held my stories and sighs. And grateful, too, for you, my own Listening Ear, for bringing me material always for my work and many secret grins of delight and new windows of perspective, besides giving me something to do in this world both useful and obviously needed.

5 comments:

Mrs. Organic said...

This is my new favorite post. I love it. Love it, love it, love it.

I can sit and listen and talk (boy howdy) for hours. Sometimes I think we are the same person (although not really since you are so much cleverer, but still...the same).

And now maybe I've been dipping chocolates far too long and should just go to bed, but first I wanted to tell you how much I love this.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

"I do know people who say they never complain. I've listened to them, too." A truer line never spoken! Getting over the hurdles is what we people do.

John Romeo Alpha said...

The ear supports one of our most powerful, and underutilized, faculties. Our mouths, in contrast, well, the opposite. Love this post.

Linnea said...

I must have given your ear plenty of delight over the years ... and your eyes too. For what tongue can't speak, pen will.

Emma J said...

You do delight me, Linnea - delight of the happy and grateful variety.

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