Ding dong. Our doorbell rang and I heard my wife talking to the 8 year old neighbor girl who had stopped by to say hello. I was sitting on the couch nursing a bum hip from hoisting too many stones and rocks for landscaping. In consideration, my wife was gently telling her that we were busy and could not talk right now.
I quickly analyzed the situation; my bum hip on a soft couch watching television and a young girl wanting to tell someone, anyone, about her day at school. Her parents were getting a divorce, 2 other siblings had serious physical ailments that required their mom’s attention. She just needed someone to talk to.
“Hey,” I hollered. “Hold on!” I hobbled to the door. “Lets sit on the porch. How was school today?”
And for the next hour she regaled us with her stories of class antics, jokes, the details of her class safari trip. She chased cottonwood seeds as they floated across the porch, she slurped chunks of watermelon we offered from the refrigerator. We listened. Asked questions. She ran home.
Often, that’s all we need. Someone to look us in the eye and simply ask, “How was your day?” Knowing we have their undivided attention, cell phone notifications turned off, televisions turned down, the eye-to-eye message; you and I are here, right now, together.
Ordinary people do extraordinary things. Ask a question and then . . . listen.