Listen Up

Today my brother has come into town with his wife. They are looking at houses and will be moving here within the next seven months.  I am elated and thrilled beyond measure!  They have not lived here at all. Ever. He was in the Army and is now a Retired Lieutenant Colonel and once they got married they moved many places, but never here.  So, they will be joining us for dinner tonight and the 13th is my brother’s birthday.   We will be dining at a restaurant that has been a family favorite for years.  Since I was a little girl!  As wonderful as this place is, it is always a bit bittersweet to dine there.  My father, mother and sister have all moved to Heaven and now it is just my brother and I left.  Along with our families, of course. Still feels very odd and daunting at times.  This morning I went to the store to get my brother a birthday card so I would have it for tonight.  I found the perfect card!  It was a laugh out loud moment!  I literally laughed every time I looked at the card as I made my way around the store to gather a few items.  Twinkies for sure.  One of my brother’s favorite treats!  As I made my way to the counter to check out, I just knew I needed to share the card with the employee that was working the counter.  I just knew I would brighten her day!  As she began to ring up items, I laughed a little and said “You just have to see this card!”  I explained that it was for my brother and that his birthday is soon.  I explained that he is quite a bit older than me and I just had to zing him!  Her face instantly changed.  She kept quiet though, read the card and laughed a tiny bit.  I explained to her that we had lost our sister this last year…and before I could finish she said “I lost my brother five years ago on February 6th.  He was misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, that turned out to be cancer.”  I will be honest, my first instinct was…this was my story.  I was telling you about us.  People do this to me all the time.  And, then I realized, I do this, too!  I am so interested in my story sometimes, I forget that everyone has a story.  And to this lady, her story was so fresh at the moment.  Granted her brother had been gone five years and my sister and dad have been gone just months.  But the timing was everything.  Her brother passed on February 6th.  So, to her, this was so fresh in her mind.  Every year I am sure she thinks about her brother and the tragedy of losing someone so young and so needlessly to a misdiagnosis.  So, I listened to the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes that is what we just have to do.  I “listened up.”  Because sometimes what we have to say, even though just as important, does not need to be said at the time we think we need to say it.  So, listen I did.  And I was glad.  I was glad that she had a moment to tell her story.  To tell her side of life as it was effecting her at the moment.  Her wounds were not as fresh, but they were as powerful.  Loss is a hard thing for all and if we can just share in someone else’s grief for just a brief time, we will find healing in our own.

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