Today is my very best friend Samantha’s Birthday. We were born exactly three days apart and have been friends for nearly 40 years. This picture was taken five years ago when we were in Las Vegas celebrating our 39th birthdays. I love this picture; hate my missing chin but love this picture. When I look at it I feel loved. Look at how much fun we’re having. Look at this and know that she was hanging on to every word I said.
Samantha is one of the best listeners I know. Just this week I asked her advice on it. I have a group at work that wants to improve their listening skills, myself included. Samantha listened quietly while I told her what I needed. As I was talking she looked directly in my eyes. I looked away uncomfortably and continued to talk. I don’t like looking people in the eyes. I think it’s because I had been self-conscious all my life. She started to give me advise and, being the horrible listener that I am, I started to talk over top of her. She stopped talking, raised her eyebrows and I asked if I was done. She told me to be quiet. She told me to listen. She told me to look her in the eyes. She then told me to repeat what she had said. It was hard for me. I wanted to make faces, I wanted to crack a joke, I wanted to say the next word. Against my instinct, I did what she told me and really saw my beautiful friend sitting beside me. She had been there for me all these years waiting for me to look and listen to her. Happy Birthday my wise, beautiful friend. I see and hear you now.