Could I run out of words? Writers need trunks of words to rummage through. Artists need their paints or threads, clay or scrap metal. Musicians need their notes. Actors need their roles, teachers need their students and nurses need their patients. Drivers need miles; kids need dreams.
Panic visits when I think of running out of words. That might signal a head empty of thoughts, a heart with a deficit of feelings. I am not picky. Elevated thoughts or lowdown feelings equally welcome. With words I handle them all.
So, do artists and musicians, actors, teachers, nurses, drivers and kids open their doors to panic sometimes? I bet so, for a variety of reasons related to fear of loss of those thoughts and feelings that motivate creativity, productivity, responsibility and purpose – all reasons for being.
As a child, I was ‘listened’ to. My thoughts and feelings via my words mattered, as other children had their thoughts and feelings ‘heard’ via art, song, work, play and dreams.
Today’s kids still need to be heard, to be guided as they search for their places in a world growing ever more distracted and deaf to their voices. How will they know they matter?
It takes time, time on purpose, to listen.
I agree with Dave Isay, the creator of StoryCorps, when he said, “Listening is generosity. Listening to someone else closely is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to another human being.”
I fall short but I am working on it. Thank you for listening to me.
(Written for my Close to Home column in The Prospect-News in Doniphan, MO.)