Preface

This entry is specifically addressing one person.  You asked me what I dreamt, this what I saw.

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Listening is an acquired skill.

Sometimes we listen with our hearts. Sometimes we can be so connected to another person, that we can listen without them speaking.  These connections are rare, and thankfully far between. They can bring us much joy, much pain, and they can teach us to listen.

In many ways, I have learned to stop and listen from you. Your wisdom and your heart, above all other things, are the reasons I love you (I guess this is your Loving out Loud moment).

I went to bed with a thought of you in my mind. Perhaps it’s that the last couple times we’ve spoken you’ve been distant, or short, or perhaps impatient. Either way, it seemed off.  And I drifted to sleep.

I saw us in Jerusalem. You were sad and lonely. You said, “I feel as if I’m not listened to”.

And I asked you, “Do you listen? Do you really open your heart and listen. Can you sit and listen to a stranger?. Come with me.”

There is  a beggar that use to lie everyday at the entrance to Mahane Yehuda. I don’t know if he’s still alive, but as long as I can remember being in Jerusalem, he was always there, asleep on a dirty mat. I’ve walked past him a hundred times and always tried to throw a few shekels in the hat he leaves out.
I walked up to that man and touched his shoulder and handed him a loaf of bread from the Buchari bakery. The man opened his eyes, reached out his hand, and sat up.

“Thank you” he said.

“I’ve seen you here for 20 years. Ever since the first time I came to Jerusalem. What’s your name”.

“Elijah”, he responded, “Elijah the beggar”.

“Elijah, don’t you have a family, somewhere you can go?”.

“My wife and children have passed many years ago. This corner is my home, and this is where I will die. Thank you child for the bread,  may you be blessed”.

He tucked the rest of his bread under his jacket and lay back down. I got up, walked over to where you were standing and took your hand.

We entered the shuk and walked to David Bone’s pickle stand. I asked David to come out to meet you. I asked him to tell you his story. He told you of his daughter that has been in a vegetative  state, since infancy, due to a bad reaction to her vaccination. He told you how he’s had to rebuild his humutzim stand twice due to terror bombings, and the story of his family’s business  in the shuk for so many years. And you listened.

I took you to the first apartment I lived in with Oren in Nachalot. It was a single room. There was a small kitchen, kind of, a shower, and enough room for a table, 3 chairs, a futon, and a TV. But we made do. I showed you the apartment next door that belonged to my friend Yona Malina, that died from injuries sustained in a terrorist attack in 94. I told you about the way the men from the synagogue would knock on everybody’s door before Yom Kippur and call them out to Slichaot. And you listened.

We walked down Agripas Street towards King George. The entire area has gone through re-gentrification. It all looks so different, and I’ve only been gone for two years. As we walked, there was an old woman sitting on a bench weeping. You kissed my forehead, and said “Thank you”.

And then you went to sit with that woman, held her hand, and you asked her why she wept.

I don’t know what it means, but it moved me to tears, even in sleep. I woke up and my pillow was damp. And you were in my heart, as you always are.

“Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.”
Sue Patton Thoele 
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