A plea to pay closer attention
Not long ago I visited with someone I’ve known for two-thirds of my life.
Circumstances have put us together maybe twice a year. Through the decades our brief interactions have consisted of pleasant, superficial small talk.
Until this time.
Dinner, a few glasses of wine, and a couple of innocent questions later and, suddenly, I found myself smack dab in the path of an emotional hurricane. Churning sadness (disguised as anger). Tidal waves of raw pain. A whole lifetime of rejection loosed in a gale of fast, fierce words.
“There’s a drama behind every face,” a friend of mine once told me.
“Be kind,” Ian Maclaren urged, “For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
I sat wide-eyed, picking at my shrimp, listening to stories I’d never heard — of a confused young person fighting to make sense of senseless things, of a confused older person wrestling with way more questions than answers.
When we went our separate ways, I was left with a couple questions of my own:
- All those years and all those interactions…how could I have missed such big things?
- Would it kill me to be a little kinder?