Yawning is a compliment

It has been years.

I still remember the first. We left our Bainbridge home to visit friends that lived in Valdosta.  I was a nursing  mom with two nearly-pre teens. As we settled into the afternoon in that sunken den, Linda asked if she could read something to me. “Sure,” I replied, expecting some ten line poem or a newspaper article. She pulled out a newsletter, several pages long, this her most recently received edition. It was written by a homeschool mom with a family of a dozen or so folks. This mom wrote about the antics of their youngest, canning beans or prayer. She touched on all sorts of topics, as you soaked in her words and turned the pages.

I remember when the realization hit me that Linda planned to read ….. on. For a brief time, I felt awkward.
I had never had an adult read to me.
I don’t remember my own mother reading to me. I am not sure that anyone had ever read to me something of this length. I became distracted in thought from time to thinking about this odd feeling …. of feeling babied …. coddled …. snuggled …. nurtured.

As I listened, I left that place of awkward … and began to enjoy.
I remember how sweet those minutes were, as they ticked,
one sentence at a time, one idea at a time, one paragraph at a time.

I don’t believe anyone has read to me since that afternoon – at least, not like that. No one has sat down with excitement to share penned ideas … the outpouring of ones heart …. more than a few lines or an article ….

Until this weekend.

I have recently realized that most of my closest friends are writers or avid readers – or both. They love words. They enjoy typography. They have quotes and verses written on their walls, tattooed on their bodies and bumper stickered onto their cars. They take notes and write plays. They write songs and poems and stories and books.  They stop you – mid-sentence – to exclaim, “Oh! I LIKE that word,” when you use a word that they don’t commonly use. And they use uncommon words.
They simply .. and thoroughly … enjoy language and communication.

Sunday, Kenneth pulled out his notebook of prose
and asked if he could read to me.
“Of course!”
He asked me if I would be bored and yawn
like his children do.
“No! I would love to listen!!”
So, he read … page after lovely page.
He read of mice in the country and clouds in the sky.
He read lines of encouragement and a moral to a story.
He read of ideas and concepts and used words that made me smile.

And I yawned!

I was shocked. How could I settle into the place of boredom so quickly?
As he read, I thought about this.
And I enjoyed his bass rhythm, his cadence, his inflection.
I hung on each word. I enjoyed each stanza.
And I realized
that my “yawn”
was not a sign of boredom
but rather a high compliment.

I was comfortable on that couch beside him
in his den of delicious afternoon-sunshine-colored walls
his dear wife in the kitchen next to us,
cleaning up our lunch dribbles from a wonderful lunch
and wiping down the counter.
On his rustic, textured brown furniture,
I was reminded of a walk in the woods or an afternoon at a park.
I was at ease listening to him share his heart, tell his tales
and lend the lyrics from the stories in his mind.
My yawn said, “I am relaxed and content.”

As an adult, have you ever had someone read to you?
Do you read to your children? Or your spouse?

Reading to one another
is intimate.
It takes a slowing down
and a being still
that is seldom experienced
in our busy world
of errands, lessons and work.
It requires a pouring out of one
and a letting in of another.

Grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate
and pour yourself out
or let someone else in
Try a new intimacy.

8 thoughts on “Yawning is a compliment

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