The day, maybe even the world, can change for another person when we pause to listen to them. I was checking out at my Jewel grocery store, and when I was about the leave with my cart of bagged food, the store clerk seemed to want to talk. She checks me out almost weekly, so we have a bit of rapport with each other, especially given this situation of isolation and masks. No one was behind me loading groceries on the counter, which gave an opening. Clearly, she seemed worried or preoccupied.
She shared with me about her son, who was in much pain, making his job as a laborer very difficult. His neck leading to his spine is in terrible pain and he is unable to find a doctor who can help him. Making an in-person appointment is very difficult these days of self sheltering. This man is putting himself out there to keep working while in much pain. When you are in constant pain, you are burdened beyond measure.
I just listened to a worried mom, asked a few questions about his situation, and said I would pray for him. That’s it. She smiled and said a heartfelt THANK YOU!!! The exchange between us took a few minutes. I know her by the name on her jewel ID card; she doesn’t even know my name, only my face.
I just know that my PAUSE in that situation, from quickly leaving for my car, gave me the opportunity to simply listen to this person for a couple of minutes and I know that it made a difference. We change the world in which people live, only in the present moment, by “pausing” to listen to the other’s story. Life can change in the PAUSE, if we slow down and simply become aware.
God sent humanity the greatest gift imaginable: his Son, who entered our lives in the Incarnation. And in doing so, we become “connected” to each other as he is connected with the Father. Our God is a God of relationships, forged in Spirit...in Love. The mission of the Son is to bring us as a people and as individuals into this bond of Love. And the Son, Jesus, sends us, who are baptized, immersed in his passion, into the world to make the connections in humanity happen. This is called salvation. And it happens moment by moment, pause by pause, in the present moment, NOW!!!
I tend to be one who hurries in life trying to get things done. In doing so, I am preventing God from acting through my own humanity, which has the ability to become Christ, if only I become aware, reflect, pray and pause. We all have a “story” which involves the people in our lives who make a difference. Usually, they are our loved ones, friends, coworkers. But our God doesn’t want us to limit how he enters another person’s life. God enters through each and every one of us, and often it is the outsider who makes all the difference. But in the “pause”, the listening, the outsider is no longer on the outside, but a part of the other’s story, even if it’s on the periphery.
My next task: when I go to the Jewel , I’m going to go to this woman’s checkout counter, and let her know my name. After all, I know her first name, why shouldn’t she know mine? And I’m going to ask about her son...