Do you hear me?
I saw him out of the corner of my eye. Startled by his presence, I sat in my chair just a bit nervous as he stood just outside my office in his long, black trench coat. I hadn't heard him enter the church at all! He stood holding a dead white pigeon in the palms of both hands, his face sad and quiet. My initial reaction was abrupt, as I was also sad. The bird reminded me of our first pet cockatoo who died suddenly a few years ago.
I said out loud, "Get that thing out of here!" But he didn't move an inch, still there, still holding the bird out in his hands. As I gathered myself, I asked where he found this long-past member of the avian breed. "I found her on the sidewalk." My heart was broken, both for me as I recalled the grief of losing Zoey that awful day, and for him, as I discerned that he was also broken.
What did he want? He wanted to give her a proper burial. I opened up the church storage room to find something with which I could dig, found a beach shovel and pail, and we walked together to the back of the property. Finding a dirt spot nearby, we dug a shallow grave, he placed her frail body inside, and we prayed. That was all he wanted. He wanted someone to listen, someone to care, someone to help him in his time of need.
Can we do that? Can we meet people where they are and listen? Can we stop trying to run the narrative? Turn off the transmit button? Be quiet? I'm a work in progress in this department...will you join me?