The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Communication is my number one value. Whether a face-to-face conversation, over the phone, via text, email, or the written word, the ability to connect with others is important to me.
The other night my husband joined me for my evening walk with the dog; he knows my 30-minute walk tends to stretch out longer because I typically stop to talk with people I meet along the way. Tuesday night was no different.
I paused to chat with a neighbor who told me about his brother’s trip to Israel. As my neighbor shared highlights of the trip, my husband walked ahead without me. A few minutes later I caught up to him and we continued on our way.
As we neared home, I stopped to admire my neighbor’s tomato plants. He was excited to share the details about last year’s crop and how easy it was to can them for use later in the year. I looked up and saw that my husband was walking ahead without me.
When I caught up to him, I asked him why he always walked ahead without me.
“Stopping to talk to others is your ‘thing’, it’s not mine,” he replied.
I know my husband is not a talker and he is not interested in engaging in idle chitchat, however, I cannot imagine what life would be like if I was walking through life with blinders on, ignoring the opportunity to connect with others.
There’s no such thing as coincidence and I believe things happen for a reason. I exude an energy and smile that draws people and conversation to me like a moth to a flame and often these dialogs result in learning, growth, connections and even friendship.
If I hadn’t stopped to talk to a woman at the baseball field a few years ago, I would not have received the name of our naturopath. The naturopath diagnosed our inflammation.
If I hadn’t stopped to talk to another Mom sitting in the naturopath’s office, I would not have received the name of our current osteopath. Our osteopath diagnosed our Lyme.
If I hadn’t stopped to talk to the presenter at a Lymes presentation, I would never have had the opportunity to share my story and find my voice to speak about Lyme.
I shared these thoughts with my husband and told him how grateful I was to have had these conversations otherwise, I may never have found out I had Lyme. It was an extraordinary revelation to me once I said it out loud, and I think it was an extraordinary realization for him as well: the next day while we were out walking, he stopped and waited for me while I talked to a neighbor and he joined me in conversation with another.
I know it wasn’t easy for him, but he knew how important it was for me. In looking back, it’s easy to see that giving each other time, attention, and support is the most precious gift to give…and to receive.