Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tuning In

Two feet from where I sit, she does the familiar dance with her infant that I have seen (and done) dozens of times before. Picking her up, setting her down, bouncing her on her hip, placing her in her lap… scooping purees into her open mouth, catching the drips that fall.

I see no man at her side so I presume she is alone. She looks tired, bone-weary, capable none the less. Can she tell? Does she know she’s doing great?

She seems distracted, like she has her hands full, and my normal response would be to give her space. But what if she doesn’t know? What if she thinks she is doing it all wrong?

Someone should tell her.

“How old is she?” I ask.

“Nine months,” Her tired eyes meet mine.

“How do you feel?” I venture.

“Suicidal?” She nervously laughs.

“Not really.” She adds, eyes darting, uncertain if I was safe enough for that confession.

“It’s so hard, isn’t it?” I offer.

“Very,” she sighs, shoulders dropping in relief.

I continue to ask, she continues to answer, each response less guarded, filling more space than the last. She tells me of the high points, the moments of sheer joy since welcoming her daughter into the world. She tells me her plans and dreams and I feel the weight of responsibility that comes with each word shared.

I lean in to a conversation I could have easily avoided. I could have looked “busy” checking emails on my phone, or turned my head in my husband’s direction to catch earfuls of his conversation with a friend.

But God’s spirit is at work, tuning me in, slowing me down, giving me a desire to see, to hear, to engage the people around me.

It is not always easy. It requires concentration that I often lack. It requires words that I sometimes run out of. It requires love that is not my own.

It is not always easy, but when I listen, it is always worth it.

She lingers close by as we say our goodbyes to the familiar faces at the party we are attending. I turn around and give her a hug, say how nice it is to meet her. She holds up her finger as her baby curls her fist around it and she moves it back and forth, a goodbye wave.

I draw close and say, “Hang in there, you are doing great.” And I hope the words lodge deep. We part ways and I wonder if our paths will cross again.

Days later she comes to my mind and I pray for her… once a stranger, now a friend.  

*Linking this post to a blog by Lori Harris, a woman whose words always inspire me to live with intention and love... Click here to see read other stories of women who are learning to do the same.


  1. You write beautifully. It felt like I was there. How kind of God to give you eyes to see those around you and how courageous of you to follow his prompting. Thank you for sharing your story. (Found you from the link-up. And so glad I did.) - Andrea from Intentional Jane

    1. Thank you so much Andrea! You are absolutely right, it is so kind of God to open our eyes and give us fresh vision for building relationships with strangers... so glad you were encouraged!

  2. Adriane.
    I absolutely love your story- I love that God is not only opening your eyes to the people around you, but you are also being obedient to His prompting. It is worth it, isn't it?
    Thankful you chose to be in my first ever link up- you helped to quiet all the crickets!

    1. Thanks Lori! I always love reading the ways God is prompting your heart and family to live with purpose... so glad I could contribute my thoughts to the ways He is doing the same in me:)

      Blessings, friend!

  3. as i was reading this i thought, i wish i could go back and thank all of those wonderful "stranger friends" who took the time to see my struggles as a new mom. at the time it was a blur. now i can safely sit here, grateful for their unknowing intervention. glad you shared this story!

    1. Yes, isn't it amazing how one encounter with a stranger can be so encouraging... whether we are on the giving end or the receiving end! So glad others took the time to encourage you when you were a new makes all the difference!