On this frigid night in early January, I am blessed to sit by a roaring fire, encased in a warm blanket, nestled near my husband. As I sit gazing into the coals that are building up I am reminded of my childhood.
Believe it or not, when I lived in the southern most section of India, we had a Ben Franklin pot-bellied stove to warm our house. We lived high in the mountains. The house was built of heavy stone — and stayed blessedly cool in the hot summers. But it was also extra cool in the cool winters. Thus, the stove. And some of my earliest memories of gathering in the living room (complete with a home-made patchwork rug) snuggling in as close to the fire as I was allowed, listening to my parents talk, or read aloud.
We didn’t have television. We didn’t even have radio. We had each other, and our stories. Especially we had stories. And story-books. I realize now that my parents gave us all a great gift. We couldn’t afford expensive anything. But we spent time together as a family. And we were given one of the rarest of commodities — listening and being listened to.
Tonight I watch the snow fall, as well as the temperatures, and my hope for all of us: the chance to warm up and be warmed by the act of listening.