It’s Monday. I have a lot to do. We got home from vacation and it’s just been a complete whirlwind of chaos. Huge projects and deadlines for my husband, end of the year school demands, and of course a dirty house and piles of laundry to tackle. I’ve gotten a few things crossed off my list, but my mind has been pretty consumed today.
Over the weekend, our church had an amazing opportunity to bring in the well known author and speaker, Carl Medearis. My husband and I had the honor to have lunch with him and his wife, Chris, and sister-in-law, Kathy, along with a couple other friends of ours. As we all found our seats at the table, it just so happened, Josh and I were seated next to Carl. Conversations started easily and the normal “get to know you” questions were asked.
Except remember, I’m not normal.
Carl heard us say something about our boys and asked where they were. We made the obligatory joke that we didn’t know and had forgotten them somewhere. Haha. It’s really not that funny. Then I said, “We have 5 boys total.” He asked their names and ages so I listed them off and got to Zion and said, “And then Zion. He’s our youngest, born 2 years ago and only lived for 10 days.” He said, “Oh I’m so sorry. I heard you say 5 total, and I wondered what you meant.”
Right at that moment, I knew he was listening. He was listening because he heard the tension in my answer. He knows a mother can count her children and answering that question is easy. Except it’s not, for me.
He continued to ask questions about our son. Josh and I shared about his diagnosis and the 20 weeks leading up to his birth, the 10 days of his life, and the past 2 years of our grief. I shared how different I am because of Zion. Everything I think, say or do, is different now. We shared how his life has impacted so many and how God has been glorified through our unthinkable journey.
We sat there with burgers, beers and tears. (Don’t judge me:)
We quickly realized how much time we had spent talking about Zion and offered to turn the conversation to hear more about Carl and his endeavors and he said, “No, I want to hear about your son.”
Here was a man, who just days before, was talking with the Pope. He had stories of Bono and famous politicians and countless influential people that he has spent time with. And then there’s me.
What I can’t stop thinking about is…what listening can do for a wounded heart. Listening. Like really listening.
Listening doesn’t just mean that you hear what they say, but you feel what they say.
When someone has a nasty wound and they take off the bandage to show you, we tend to step back with squinted eyes and a wrinkled nose saying, “Ughhh… yuck. I’d rather not see.” or “No thanks, that makes me uncomfortable.” Grief feels like this sometimes. A nasty wound. And when spoken about, people are too uncomfortable to really see what it looks like.
So to those who are grieving, I feel you. I know the discomfort in sharing your story. I know how hard it is to answer an easy question. I know it’s exhausting to feel this pain every single day. But know this. There are people around you, and some are really listening. Some can really feel what you say. Friends and even strangers. So tell your story, and let your wound heal.
And to Carl, thank you. Because you listened, my heart healed just a little more.