Something interesting happened today.
I went down to the store to pick up a pack of butter.
Well, it was actually margarine. I call all margarine butter and all butter butter and... anyway. I was picking up the butter in the little Italian store down the street. No. I didn't pick up any pasta. A person can walk into an Italian store and just pick up butter. I needed it to make an almond pound cake, which was delicious by the way....
Anyhow, there was a guy standing in line behind me. The Overlord was sitting in her stroller. One of the legs was bent on the stroller as I cocked my head down to look. He looked down at The Overlord and mentioned how quiet she is. I agreed and said it was a good thing because she is always quiet in the store.
In less than a minute, the guy unleashed his life story. How he was going to be a grandfather soon (congratulations). On how they hoped this baby would come because the daughter had a miscarriage before (so sorry). How he never sees the other grandkids because they live in Virginia (well, maybe the holidays will bring you together). How he is blamed for all the wrong happening in their lives and not seeing the grandkids because of this daughter's divorce even though he was homeless for awhile (Oh, okay).
When I looked at him at one point, he had a weird expression on his face -- something like a cross between satisfaction and bitterness.
During the holidays, there will always be people who just need to vent about the bad stuff happening in their lives. Just listen quietly and be supportive, even if they are strangers, family or close friends. Letting them unleash the frustration can be a very satisfying gift for them, and it will only take a minute of your time to listen.
A little understanding goes a long way, and I hope something good starts happening in his life.