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      SOMEONE TO HEAR US OUT by Thomas Putnam

      b251632We all have a story. Like the question of whether the falling tree makes a noise in the forest if no one is there, is a story really a story if it is never told? If a story is told but not heard then is it really a story?

      I've found myself lately realizing that I take very little opportunity to listen to the story of others. I may cross paths with someone, associate with them on some level, work with them at a project, but the reality is that I have not heard their story. I haven't “heard them out.”

      One of the grievous on-going results of the pandemic is that to a greater level it is difficult to hear another's story. And likewise, it is difficult to tell our own story. There are simply fewer opportunities to hear and to speak. Dangerous things happen when we can't tell our story. Dangerous things happen to others when they are not heard.

      In THE VIEW FROM HERE Arnold tells Fern something like “Isn't that what all of us are looking for: someone to wait around long enough to hear us out?” Yeah. It's healthy—necessary—for us to share our story. In turn, we have a responsibility as fellow humans, to listen to the story of others. To hear that story.

      There's an African greeting: I see you. On this Wednesday morning in the midst of COVID, hearing of ongoing protests in Rochester, ready to open a play for limited audiences, exploring the peculiarity and power of monologue, wondering about the safety of my son on a college campus, going to visit my 99 year old step-mother in Country Terrace, to name just a few stories that this day may hold, another greeting comes to mind as crucial: I hear you.

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