Good morning. It is 5:48 a.m.
Last night, I mentioned how glorious Day 16 had been. I wanted to expand a little on that this morning.
We had our Lines of Love meeting at Carroll Community College with a room filled with kind and supportive individuals who are excited about raising awareness about mental illness and removing the stigma attached to it. We had a great conversation about the event and how we can work together; more than that, though, I noticed the sadness in many of their eyes, touched with hope that we might be able to help some individuals who are struggling out there — help them before it is too late.
Twenty-four hours ago, I knew none of them, and they did not know me. Now, though, our lives have each been strengthened by reaching out, talking about removing that stigma, and helping others.
Isn’t that really all it takes, sometimes, to spark that hope inside of us? To reach out to others and just, well, just talk? Just share in common conversation about the things that bind us? About the things that we worry about, have a passion for, or believe in strongly?
I love listening to people now. I love shutting up, getting out of their way, and letting them talk. I love watching them, letting them know that they have my full attention, that their words matter like they should. Three weeks ago, I was too busy to do any of that. My attitude, unconscious or otherwise, was all about getting to the resolution. Not on what the other person was feeling. Not on what mattered to them. Only what mattered to me and my need to solve it and move on from it.
It doesn’t work that way. Yet, we’ve come to live our lives in text-message form, desiring communication in 160 characters or less, wanting nothing more than the instant response, the quick fix, the rapid-fire result of some dilemma.
I don’t want my life to be confined by those thoughts anymore. I want open space, lengthy conversations, meaningful stretches of simply listening to others and letting them know their life matters in extraordinary ways.
You just can’t get that in a text message, a tweet, a Facebook wall post, or any other kind of instant message. We need more face-to-face, we need more conversation, we need more courage to look our friends in the eyes and show them that we care about them and about what they have to share. We need time to let them know that we care about them as individuals.
Who will you take the time to talk to today?