In episode two of Sora no Method (Celestial Method), Nonoka starts school, but the episode isn’t centered around her class – it quickly focuses on a new friendship she develops with Yuzuki, a loud and spunky classmate who enlists Nonoka in her plan to get rid of the saucer that hovers over the island in which they live.
Throughout the episode, as Yuzuki drags Nonoka to different locations in executing her plans, you can see how uncomfortable Nonoka feels. She does not want to be a part of all this, and is embarrassed by Yuzuki’s unabashed pronouncements over and over again. And yet, Nonoka continues to follow along. Certainly, she doesn’t want to hurt her new friend, but even the patient Nonoka is brought to a tipping point. But strangely enough, it’s when she refuses to go with her friend to the island directly under the saucer, and after the two fall into a lake shortly after deciding to split, that Nonoka is able to have a real conversation with her spastic friend.
We get to learn a lot about Nonoka’s character in this episode. Though letting herself being taken along on this crazed journey could be chalked up to a number of things, Nonoka’s kindness at the end of their day’s sojourn can only be the result of a kind heart. Despite suffering because of Yuzuki, Nonoka remains patient and loving as she listens to her friend.
Have you ever had the type of friend who was a bad listener? I bet you have (and if not, maybe you’re that person!). I met up with an old friend recently, and I was reminded that he has this characteristic. He has no patience for others’ thoughts – he really, ultimately, just wants others to hear what he has to say.
I get the feelings the Yuzuki has a kind of similar personality – she talks and talks and talks without much regard for Nonoka’s thoughts or feelings. And yet, our protagonist doesn’t mind and in fact, she develops trust with Yuzuki and gets to know her beneath a surface level. She listens even more.
Really hears what someone has to say is such a kind practice. It takes skills and it takes compassion and empathy. But it’s worth it if you want to show love to that person, as it shows that you care about their concerns.
Some of us already practice this kind of active listening. To others, it comes naturally. But for many, it takes a willingness and spirit to make this into a habit. But my experience, and what Sora no Method shows, is this: it’s worth the effort, as you might even see the fireworks of a friendship take off and light up the sky.