Listening is a kindness all it's own. It shows that you care. It shows that (like all the other acts of kindness) that you have nothing to gain, but you freely give your gift of time to someone else.
It's not about having the right advice. (Which is my automatic "go-to gut reaction... I'm a fixer.) It's not about fixing. Sometimes someone in your life just needs to share. Share their joys, their sorrows, their good news, and it's our job just to listen and support.
This is not the time to tell your own story. This is not the time to share a similar experience that happened to you. This is not the time to take away the limelight of their joy. It's the perfect time to be still and listen.
That was my kindness today, and the joy I felt first, in being honored that I am the one they chose to unburden to, relate to, and share good times with, cannot be expressed in words. I'm glad God reminds me from time to time that "it's not always about me". I am glad to have learned, finally, that it is okay not to have some all-knowing wisdom to pass on, or the need to "one-up" or even "one-down" someone else's joys and trials, but to just be the sounding board for someone else to share with.
I am always here for advice or council, but I am also here, just to be a friend. And it makes me happy to do either.
Happy days, my friends! Be still and listen. It's amazing what you will learn!