"All they want is someone to listen." The lessons of LOVE.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

On Thursday, while down at the Barnes and Noble off Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, I struck up a conversation with the woman who greets those both entering and leaving the store. It was a warm day, a sunny one, and a breeze was blowing in.

"Tell me about your job," I'd said and soon she was telling me stories. About those who come to the store not for books, but for community. About those who come for shelter. About those who, upon hearing her simple greeting, break down and cry.

A man concerned about a child in a foreign place.

A man concerned about a daughter.


"People think my job is about saying hello, but really my job is about listening," she said. "I'm here to offer simple hope. I'm reminding people to trust in doctors or to trust in others. I'm just letting others know that they've been heard, and that's all that many of us want or need, most of the time."

She was beautiful, this woman, with long ropes of braided hair and very liquid eyes. She had a soul about her, seemed to know just what to say to the repeat customers and the new ones. Hardly a simple job, making others feel welcome. There is a talent to it.

I'm headed to my final signing for LOVE this afternoon—the lovely indie with the fabulous name: the Big Blue Marble. What I've realized, during this LOVE journey, is that this book of mine is the least of it. This book of mine has been an excuse to get out in the world and to see how people are. To listen and reflect on stories.

I'll be curling back in toward my own life after this afternoon. But I have deeply appreciated the many people I have met through this autumn/winter celebration of our city.

December 12, 2015, 2 PM
In-store signing
LOVE, etc.
Big Blue Marble Bookstore
551 Carpenter Lane
Philadelphia, PA


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