Phone: 203 742-1450
Fairfield County Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Bridgeport

March 20, 2024

“And all the place
there was grew out of listening.”

— Li Young Lee

Tell Stories while GrievingChristian McEwen is a writer, educator and cultural activist who grew up in the Borders of Scotland and came to America. Twenty years ago she left New York City and moved to Massachusetts. She has lectured at writers’ workshops, and a theme she often discusses is the importance of listening.

She also believes that those who grieve have important stories to tell, but they “rarely get told.” We might also add that they “rarely get listened to.”

Last year she gave a writing workshop sponsored by the Thoreau Society, titled, “In Praise of Listening.”

A quote she used to illustrate the need to listen was from American poet Li Young Lee: “And all the place there was grew out of listening.”

She told the participants in the workshop: “One of life’s great joys is finding time to listen — whether to the scattered wonders of conversation or to the many voices of the non-human world: birdsong, wild wind, river’s sweep. In this morning’s workshop we will identify sources for the listener’s delight, and share ways to grow them into poems, songs and stories. No experience necessary.”

Think about those words for a moment. One of our greatest desires is to find someone who will truly listen to our story of loss and pain. And learning to listen with compassion is a vital skill to have, so work hard to develop it, because sooner or later in your healing journey, someone who has suffered a loss is going to need someone to talk to… someone who will listen sympathetically. Your experience qualifies you for that task.


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