38 Comments

Holly, Holly, Holly...we have never actually met, and yet when I read your writing, I feel like I am sitting with an old, dear friend. Please know how precious this is to me. How does a "stranger" become precious to someone? By sharing their heart, and that's what you do. I know it's not "just for Mary." But when I read your work, it feels that way. That is a gift. I am so thankful for Release and Gather. Oh, now, to answer your prompt. I am an asker of questions. I want to know people's stories. I LOVE the "common person's" stories, as they truly are not "common" at all. They are each extraordinary and brave, each in their own way. That being said, I am practicing NOT doing that to my daughter (who is now 22). Damn, it is HARD!!!!! I am trying (some days I am better or worse at this) to meet her as the young woman she is...not as the little girl I sheltered from bad things and spending hours chattering away with each other...but accepting that she will talk now when she feels like it. And I need to listen openly, without "answers" and without follow-up questions (which are rattling around in my head and heart). Thank you for your post, your photos, recommendations for places to eat and stay for Jonah's 9 months of birthing a recovery that I want to last a lifetime, and for all things Holly.

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I love road trips. Your piece reminded me of one of the best suggestions I’ve received in recovery when my friend Big Nik said, “Never pass up the opportunity to shut the f*** up.”

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Mar 4, 2023Liked by Holly Rabalais

So much beauty here I want to comment on! But, I too, am a talker (both verbally and in the written word) and in the spirit of this essay I am not going to write a missive in your comments section. :) I'll just say 1) Congratulations to Jonah! 2) I've been practicing deep listening for a while and it's transforming my life. 3) Thank you for sharing the choir clip! That beautiful song sounds truly heavenly as sung by those children. 4) Really enjoyed the travelogue, in addition to the rest of the piece. 5) Chloe is one lucky kid to have you as a grandparent. xoxo

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Oh, Holly. I loved reading about your road trip with Chloe - I'm still thinking about the post you'd included her in around advent - 'Emmanuel'. The two of you have just had such an amazing experience, and the sound clip has brought tears to my eyes. If I didn't use Proper Cotton Hankies (not a brand name, yet still worthy of upper case) I would certainly be buying shares in Kleenex, and I would blame you ENTIRELY for that! 😉

Yay to Jonah and his continuing progress. And yay to your shout-out to Miss Sober Jane, whose words I read avidly.

And yay to YOU, Holly, for carpeting this world in words of much-needed humanity. I am always listening.

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Gorgeous choral piece. Thank you for the clip, and for your whole post. It’s a needed reminder that I’ve resolved to work on really listening, especially with close family. Bravo to Jonah.

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Over the last few years, I've worked to talk less & listen more-especially at work. I'd like to think I've gotten better, but it's definitely a work in progress.

I also need to book a night or two at Dave's place!

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Mar 4, 2023·edited Mar 4, 2023Liked by Holly Rabalais

1. I find that when I really listen the person tells Me I'm a great conversationalist! Most people don't really listen, they watch for the gaps that allow them to jump in with what THEY want to say. So kudos to you for doing it properly. (Apologies if that sounds patronising, it isn't intended to be. I learnt counselling in my younger days, at least a particular variety of it.)

2. I'm impressed that you managed to actually get out of Ikea.

3. I want to visit Dave's Place

4. Congratulations to Chloe 😃

5. Well done, Jonah

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I’m always working on being a better listener! It’s a skill that does not come naturally to me. But I’m trying! I’ve always been a talker for as long as I can remember and even before since my mom always tells me how I used to talk everyone’s ears off even as a tiny toddler.

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Mar 4, 2023Liked by Holly Rabalais

Another great post. I am definitely more the listener, then talker in general, except for with my husband where I do talk more? I think "Great listener" is just the role I was born into which of course, has its merits as well as pitfalls.

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Mar 4, 2023Liked by Holly Rabalais

I worked within and around a university choral program and every time I hear a choir my eyes water immensely. So glorious. Great listen to those children and ate up the whole adventure. Spent many a day of my youth in Cincinnati, love a river town. I need an IKEA visit and a new blue bag! Didn't know Memphis had one!

Way to go Jonah! That's terrific to hit 9mos! Listening? I read once don't do it so much to reply but to fill one's curiosity, to spark our interests. I always come away from here so full of happiness.

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This is fantastic and I so want to go to Daves...

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As always, love your insights and sharing what you're learning and feeling. And thanks so much for including a link to my story!

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Thanks Holly for sharing all your activities along the way on your trip. Congrats to Chloe for her singing and getting a chance to do it. It was nice to hear a clip from the actual event.

I'm probably the only person who hasn't been to IKEA yet. I've heard so much about it over the years. The nearest one is 55 miles away.

Congrats on Jonah's nine months!

I'm a great listener. If someone starts talking, no matter how much it is, I listen intently. Recently, people I have listened to, have shared so many things that I wouldn't have ever known. I've found out what makes them tick and their life experiences.

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Well, I finally got to reading this, and boy, am I glad I did. This is lovely, Holly, and if I hadn't just cross-posted another blog, I'd share this with my readers. I will find another way to do that, maybe include the topic and link your story in an upcoming essay. What a wonderful story and reminder. Thank you for sharing. 💜

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Hope you waved when you passed through Hernando!

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This is going to sound as crazy as it was. I ran a fairly successful business for about 30 years, supporting my family and providing gainful employment to 20 employees. It ended in a total train wreck of a bankruptcy. Sudden and abrupt. After the dust had settled, I noticed that for some reason nobody was interested in asking me for business advice. That I understood, but I was surprised at the dinner table when family members began carrying on conversations that pointedly excluded me. These could be conversations about any number of things not pertaining to the business world, towards which I felt that I still may have had something to contribute. Now I'm a talker by nature, and this was a cold turkey shut down. Forced to listen, I learned two things. One, my wife and children and grandchildren are going to be just fine when I'm not around. Just to know that was almost worth having the business tank, and two, I was listening to very interesting and humorous and life-loving people. I knew that before, but I didn't know it, if you know what I mean. So here's to you, Holly, and to us, fellow listeners.

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