For the last year or so, I've volunteered once a month at my local church...my "job", ostensibly, is to cover the receptionist's desk while she - and the other church personnel - have their monthly staff meeting. Some months, it's pretty quiet...with just me and the dust bunnies in attendance...but other days, it can be downright crazy.
Yesterday was such a day...for three hours, the phone rang nonstop, and there was a steady stream of visitors through the front door, with various questions, requests, and drop-offs. I hardly had an opportunity to greet my beloved dust bunnies, as it was just...insane.
The UPS guy with packages...a lady dropping off flowers...a gentleman dropping off tomatoes...someone with memorial envelopes to drop off...someone to pick UP memorial envelopes...someone needing directions to the church...someone else needing the name of the organist...it was a revolving door of human contact. I was being pulled in a hundred different directions, and I was beginning to get a bit...frazzled.
And then...in the craziness of yesterday...it dawned on me what my real purpose was in being there.
It's to listen.
Whether I'm listening to the woman on the phone, who is planning her late husband's service...or listening to the elderly man ask when his Meals on Wheels lunch will arrive...or listening to the plumber trying to entertain me with his plumbing horror stories as he works on the church's leaky pipes...I was there to listen.
In our day-to-day encounters with others...whether it's at a volunteer opportunity, or a workplace, or a school, or perhaps at a grocery store...sometimes, all people want is someone to listen to them. And I need to remember that, and not be worried that I'm not getting the "rest" of my work done because of such encounters.
So...I took a deep breath...and opened my ears to what people were really saying.... Instead of feeling the craziness swirling around me...I focused on the people in front of me...and it was good. It didn't seem so crazy, and I wasn't so...frazzled.
I hope I remember this lesson I learned yesterday. I hope I remember to just stop...take a deep breath...and listen...whether it's to my family, my coworkers, my friends, or even the birds in the sky....