When someone asks how I am–and really means it–and is willing to listen and ask questions and offer support, I am very grateful. It has made me aware of how often we get caught up in our own stuff and what is going on in our own heads. Many of us are too busy or overwhelmed to take the time or spend any energy on other people. Really listening and paying attention to someone else is an unselfish, extravagant gift. It takes time and it makes you vulnerable … you may hear painful stories, you may sit in silence with someone who is crying and needs the presence of another soul at that moment. You may be asked to give more than you were prepared to give.