Last summer I took a hiking trip with a friend. We’ve been friends since we were in fourth grade. We lived around the corner from each other in New York and moved to Florida four years later. This was a sad time for me. We had been inseparable. As years journeyed on, we realized we both loved to hike. As we got older, we met in various to hike together. We've gone to Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park and most recently to Glacier National Park. On the most recent trip she shared unsettling news with me about her mom. She found out that she has a nodule on her lung. As we processed this together, my became heavy with grief. She revealed to me that she wanted to explore the subject of death. The moments that followed I began to think it was my responsibility to figure it out for her and then it became a burden.
As months passed I realized that she wasn't asking for me to do anything. My focus began to shift. I became curious about her heart and what she was experiencing inside of her. Was she anxious, sad, mad, angry? How was this news affecting her? What did she want to know about death? Was she trying to wrap her head around losing her mom? It might be she wondered about life without her. Was she wanting to know what happens to a person after they die? In those pausing moments, I realized I hadn’t taken the time to explore this with her. I was too consumed with my response. Had I taken the time to ask those questions and listen it might have led me to a place of understanding. I can’t go back and have that conversation with her, but I can start a new conversation. I can approach it differently and be curious. I can discover how her heart is processing all this and LISTEN!