Memorial Day – To Acknowledge and Listen

fruit-blossoms

I’ve been thinking, on this cool grey morning with a hint of rose along the horizon, what I might have to say this Memorial Day.  I thought of how much it means when we listen to one another, even when we cannot understand.  Listening is a huge gift.

Then the word “acknowledge” came to mind.  I was interested to read its definition in the dictionary, so I did a Google search.  The first definition on the screen said, “Accept or admit the existence or truth of.”

That is huge.

Once a dear person I know who served in Vietnam called me, after years of silence, to share a little about his experience.  He had read my poetry about the chronic illness and grief I had experienced, and he felt I would understand.  I am still so honored.  For me, this is what poetry is mostly about: healing.  I also love the beauty of language.

I think sometimes we are afraid of saying something “wrong” when really the person who is hurting is so helped by a simple acknowledgment.  A kind word.  Otherwise, the person in pain feels even more isolated.  Also, if we have failed in the past, we can simply say, “I’m sorry.”  We are all human.  I think people know when our hearts are in the right place.

One thing I loved about my mother was (is) her sense of humor.   Now that I am 59, sometimes I have experiences with someone younger who knows so much more than me.  I love this, and this is as it should be.  One day, after an experience in a store, I thought of myself with my mother sometimes, when I was young, and I started laughing as I walked to the back door.  No one was around and I said, “Oh, Mother, I’m sorry!”  I’ve been to family funerals where there was so much laughter with the tears – everyone telling their stories.

It’s a great Mystery, but conversations continue . . . as we acknowledge and listen.

Love and blessings,

Ellen

fruit-blossoms

The “fruit blossoms” are courtesy of antiqueclipart.com.

22 thoughts on “Memorial Day – To Acknowledge and Listen

  1. Listening truly is a gift, both to receive and to give. You triggered a memory for me: when I worked at the local library, I met a Vietnam vet. He was a big dark mountain of a man, and I sensed there was much inside him that probably hadn’t come out. I asked if he’d be interested in sharing some of his memories from the war experience. He thought about it for a week (he was in the library on Friday nights), then said he could only do it by making a cassette tape for me, not an in-person chat. I was so honored to listen to his story–and eventually mailed it back to him, with a note of thanks for his service–and for sharing. God bless you Ellen–love, Caddo

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  2. Beautiful reminder, Ellen. When we listen to each other–really listen–wonderful and healing things happen. May you receive the blessings you’ve lavished on us with your writing. Marylin

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  3. We tend to forget that compassion and sympathy are slightly different. To show com-passion is to feel with, to suffer with. It’s not only an emotion, but a commitment. You expressed the importance of it perfectly.

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      1. I have gone back to college, and had stopped reading all but 2 of the blogs that I follow. Now that the craziness of May is subsiding I am catching up and your words and poems are breathing life into me!! I shared a link to you on twitter and on my Facebook page. You really have the gift Ellen!

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  4. I so agree with what you have written here … just listening … it seems so simple, but as it is often all that is needed, it seems such a hard-to-come-by treasure these days. Lovely, lovely reflection, Ellen . XO

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