By Renee Cox  featured in the May 2016 issue

For some reason, I meet many people I have never met before who like to talk to meI’m talking about total strangers! I really like that most of the timeI’ve heard many stories in line at the grocery store, when I get my nails done, and just about everywhere I goI began to wonder several years ago why this is true, and I came to this conclusion.

I remember meeting Marlene Evans personally in the early 1980sI was so thrilled to get to spend personal time with this lady I had loved from a distanceShe spoke at our little country church and came a few days early before the meeting for some rest and relaxation.

I can see her now as we shared conversationShe looked me straight in the eye and seemed to hang on every word I spokeWow! I had never had anyone listen so intentlyI was convinced she really cared about what I was sayingThese conversations continued for many yearsWhat a friend! I shared my heart and hurts with her many times and knew I had a trusted friend.

The week of her Homegoing in July 2001, I had the privilege of spending some precious time with her and DrEvansIn those hours before her death, she asked me about all the people and events we had spent years sharingI was amazed at how much she remembered. She really, really listened.

I remember her saying at some point in her speaking that if you listen to someone tell you about themselves, that person will think YOU are the most interesting person she has ever met.

We live in a crazy world that asks for our time and attention. It’s so easy to be consumed with our electronics and busy schedules and our own concerns. I hope I have learned to really listen like I care when people talk to me. I do think that when you look people straight in the eye and are totally focused on your conversation that they feel confident of your concern. This is something I strive to accomplish. People really need to know that we care!