“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” ~Ralph Nichols
A friend, and neighbor, died this week. She was found dead in her kitchen at the age of 52. I’ve been told her death was a combination of drugs and alcohol. Remembering her when we moved into our house five years ago, always waving and smiling, I ask myself, what happened? The few conversations I’ve had with her left me knowing that the possibility for a friendship was there. Unfortunately that coffee we always talked about never happened. As family clears out her house and her pets are being taken away; I am left with emptiness as I see the car in her driveway that will never be driven by her again.
Yesterday I went to the grocery store. A young checkout guy, that I‘ve had enough short conversations with to know a bit about his world, said hi to me in the parking lot as I was leaving. I turned to him, always happy to see him and his excitement for what he’s currently doing, and asked how he was doing. I was surprised to find out that he was really down. He explained, in so many words, the pressures he felt because his family did not really understand his aspirations or who he is. He told me that he has no friends; the people that he meets trying to find friends that have more of a status quo. Socially, he explained, he just can’t connect. But, the thing that broke my heart was when he told me he had a breathing problem and sometimes in the night not able to breathe, or know if he would be able to catch his next breath, didn’t feel that it was all that important if he did or not. This happy guy with the big smile is carrying a deep pain that most people will never see. As sincerely as I could, I told him what I saw in him, and what I appreciated. I told him to keep going.
I wonder, behind all the smiles, just how many people struggle to get through the day. As I carry my neighbor’s memory in my heart and think about this young man who is striving to fit into a world-one not always concerned with authenticity- I ask myself, how can I help? While I may not be able to solve the world’s problems, I can reach deep into myself and pull out what is needed for others. I can connect with others in a way that lets them know I care by listening, a loving smile, or simply by being there without judgment. Sometimes it takes pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and embracing all people. I want them to know they are a gift so precious to me, and hopefully the power in that raises their awareness of how important and understood they really are.
“Many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request.”— Phillip Stanhope
Earl of Chesterfield
March is International Listening Awareness Month. Learn more at: http://www.listen.org/Legend
THIS WEEK UNDER BRIDGES:
Bridging the GapTrevor Jenkins (Photo courtesy and story by NT News)
Before we agree to connect or commit to others and their pain and suffering-take a reality test. It’s easy..see story on this blog at: https://chasingtheperfectmoment.com/bridges/
THIS WEEK UNDER THE ESSAY CLOSET:
“What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those of other things, are his history. These are his life, and they are not written. Everyday would make a whole book of 80,000 words — 365 books a year. Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man — the biography of the man himself cannot be written.”
― Mark Twain
Todays’ story is a small piece about my neighbor, her story, if she were here to tell it. Thanks to her loved one’s for sharing. See story on this blog at: https://chasingtheperfectmoment.com/the-essay-closet/
See you next week…
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I haven’t been able to find your name anywhere, so I’m not able to address you properly, but thank you for visiting my blog today…for letting me know you were there, and for your nice comment. I appreciate the time you spent at “my place.” Take care, Scott.