I could answer this question in two ways. I could go through a whole host of situations where I have experienced good listening and talk about the details of it or I could simply give thanks for one woman. I’ll go with the latter option.
On Tuesday night, my great Aunt, Helen Carpp passed away. Ciocia Helen (as we called her as Ciocia is the Polish word for Aunt) was an incredibly dear woman to me. While I never got to spend nearly as much time as I would like with her as I grew up in Colorado and she lived in Connecticut, every time I spent with her was a truly blessed time. While she was officially my great aunt, in reality she was more like a Grandmother to me along with my other grandmothers. I clearly remember one of the last times I spent with her. I had gone by her house and just spent about 2 hours having a BIG lunch and talking about what was going on. She asked me about what it meant that I was going to be a pastor (she was Catholic and wanted to just be clear what the differences were in that I wasn’t going to be a priest), about what was going on in my life, and so forth. Now all those things are “normal” conversation topics, but I clearly remember her being totally focused on what I was saying. She wasn’t asking just to be polite, but she was asking because she deeply wanted to know. She wanted to be connected with me and I with her. She wanted to share my excitement and joy.
As I am getting ready to fly out to Connecticut to celebrate her life and participate in her service witnessing the resurrection, I give many thanks for my dear Ciocia Helen.