Just Listen.

by jloh

I just got back from a dinner appointment, and while in the car talking to my girlfriend, my phone rang. It was not a saved number, and it was exactly 11.53pm. That’s late to call, even for me. But because it was an unsaved number, I answered it.

This guy’s voice asked for me and then said his first name. I had no recollection who this person was, so I probed him further and finally he gave me enough details for me to remember. He was a friend of a friend, that attended one of our business talks months ago and later I remembered listening to his story over supper. It was an unhappy one.

I inquired about his reason for calling, and he said it was his birthday today.

Well…not often people call to tell me that it’s their birthday; but what he told me after that completely humbled me. He said thank you, because on Jan 12th, a Wednesday night he said; when we met and he told me his life story – he was ready to commit suicide when he went home that night because his girlfriend left him for someone else.

But he spoke to me, and what I said to him gave him hope that his life was worth living – so I am special to him because he wouldn’t be able to celebrate another year if I hadn’t listened and talked to him that night so many months ago.

Now, for the life of me, I can’t remember that story in detail and for sure, I don’t remember what I said.

But I do remember being in the presence of someone who was genuinely hurt, confused and lost. I have long given up the habit of buying into people’s dramas because it was not only a time-sucker but also an energy-sucker. But this man that night was desperately grasping at something to remind him that he was enough. Just by him being himself. And that no one other person can ever define or devalue his worth as a human being no matter what they did. I guess I was that person that night.

In my eyes, I didn’t do anything special. I just listened and reminded him of the truth about who he is.

But tonight after that call, I may be the one that was given the most precious gift of all. The reminder on how important it is to just be fully present – listening & really seeing the person that you’re with. No judgments, no solutions – just listen.

So in honor of my friend – please do that every moment you’re with someone. You might save a life.

Happy birthday Michael, may your life be a continuous blessing to all you touch.