Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Listening to an Average Joe

It's time to get busy. Looking at colleges.

Ugh. We just did this with J. 

Er, three years ago.

I guess those three years went by since it seems like yesterday we were traipsing all over the world country region looking at schools.

I'm having a hard time believing that my littlest one is going to be a senior next year. I just gave birth to her. I can remember quite clearly the moment I first saw her. I was convinced I was having a second boy. I always thought I'd have two boys. Growing up in a house full of girls, I was pretty sure I didn't want any of those kind. Nope, two boys would be good for me.

But God knew what I needed. And I needed a daughter.

The moment she was born, I looked into her eyes. She stared at me so intently. And I thought, "Oh. Yes, it's you. You're exactly what I wanted."

How can it be that she's leaving us already?
I hope she has a daughter some day. And that girl hides behind her hands when her mother's trying to photograph her.

I will laugh. 

And her daughter will let me take her photograph because she'll do anything for her granny.

Not that I want to be called "Granny". I'm just saying.
M was telling me about a book she read, What Now?, by Ann Patchett.

I liked this book. A lot. 

Based on her commencement speech at Sarah Lawrence College, it's packed with tiny little gems of wisdom and truth.

...people need to talk, and often a willingness to sit and listen is the greatest kindness one person can  offer to another.

When I think about all the times that my mind has wandered when someone was speaking to me, and all the times I've formulated responses as they were still speaking, I feel ashamed. There's a difference between hearing and listening. I need to listen more. And better. I need to be a better listener.

It is senseless to think that at every moment of our lives we should all be the team captain, the class president, the general, the CEO, and yet so often this is what we're being prepared for....It turns out that most positions in life, even the big ones, aren't really so much about leadership.

Most of us turn out to be followers. Average drones going about our business. The business of getting a degree at an average university. The business of getting an everyday job at the Acme Corporation doing average work for an average salary. The business of raising an average family in an average suburb in an average town.

And yet, in spite of all this average-ness, we are content. 

Content to follow and not lead. Thank you, Ann Patchett, for reminding me that it's okay to be an Average Joe. 

And thanks, M, for recommending the book. 
P took this photo today. She was a wee bit bored, waiting to hear about a summer job.

I love it.

1 comment:

  1. "..people need to talk, and often a willingness to sit and listen is the greatest kindness one person can offer to another"

    Cheryl, this is an "earthquake" of a quote. It speaks to me too. It is SO true. Thank you for this post.