Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 18: Listen

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry."
-James 1:19 

Tonight, out of a surge of goodwill and a babysitting offer from our neighbors, I did something a bit out of the ordinary: I volunteered at the Compassion table during an event at Hub's workplace.  He was going to take pictures and the theme for the night was marriage, so we made it into a pseudo-date.  Working and experiencing the same event together was a fun change of pace.

When I got there I discovered there were quite a few volunteers for the table, so for most of the event I ended up talking with the volunteer coordinator for Compassion.  He was an older gentleman, and since the event was for married couples, naturally talk of our respective husband and/or wife came up.  He told me his wife had passed away in January from cancer.

He spoke for a while about her disease, about the helplessness they felt as she struggled with both the cancer and failing kidneys, about her adventurous spirit, about the displacement he felt after moving from a village in the Pittsburgh area to a rural New York property with his brother that needed a lot of renovation after her death.

And yet in the midst of all the pain, he kept saying "God blessed me with it," and how each difficulty brought him both self-realization and a sense of God working through adversity.

I learned a lot tonight about this man's life, and was struck with the gift of listening I was able to give to him.  Ironically, it became a gift to me as well, as I was shown a picture of a hard life in which God's hand was present.

I sat next to the volunteer coordinator for part of the event, but when it became clear that there were going to be couple-focused exercises, he leaned over to me and asked, "Is your husband the one taking pictures?"

"Yes," I replied.

"You should go find him."

I did, and spent the rest of the event with Hubs when I wasn't at the Compassion table  As the coordinator and I said a final "God bless you," my heart felt thankful to be able to see a glimpse into his life because I was willing to listen.  I pray God will continue to help me open my ears so I can sense how He is working in the lives of those around me.

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