Listen to what you cannot see
By: Steve Trubilla
A good friend recently shared with me he was feeling empty about someone he truly cared about. Someone, he said, he had helped many times, and was willing to do anything for.
In the course of things big and small, the conversation to others was of little importance; just a couple of friends talking.
Have you ever noticed some small words can cut deep? He was feeling empty; I thought about this. Not frustrated, lonely, or angry, just empty.
As an action, to empty is to remove something, leaving the absence of what was.
Then there is the word feeling, a word much harder to define with other words. For you I am trying to paint a picture of what the presence and sensation of feeling is. I will express it as an appreciative awareness to an experience or emotion.
Together the words feeling and empty host the invisible presence of pain, something that cannot be seen or touched. Is it then real or just imagined? For those that know the feeling of emptiness, it is very real. The feeling of emptiness expresses human tragedy, pain with loss.
As I listened to my friend, trying to comfort him, his words flowing, I could hear the deep sadness. I was in a moment of mourning with him. He had lost someone he loved, not a physical death, but by every other measure, a death. Being so moved by this experience, it called me to write about it.
He told me he had finally realized the person he cared so much for saw him as only necessary when they could use him. Even then they were judgmental abusive, condescending, and patronizing. Looking back now, he said he did not know why it had taken so long for him to see it.
There had been many signs, phone calls not returned, never coming to visit, too busy to get together for important occasions, hurtful comments and little if any interest in what he was doing. I did not say much, just listened, thinking how unkind and selfish the person must be to be so hurtful to one that cared about them so much.
Love is a powerful blessing that brings great joy to life, it can be also powerfully blinding.
I asked my friend, so do you not still take pleasure in helping the person? His reply was, no, not so much anymore. Without saying, I thought what an unnecessary loss for one that cared so deeply.
I am sharing this story with you because my guess is we all know at least one person such as the one who is or was in my friend's life. The most dangerous of them are those we become emotionally invested with. Epically tragic is often they are family members, those we work with, a lover, or maybe, a childhood friend. Yes, those we most value.
Others see them for what they are, and may even try to warn you about them.
As you can see, my friend's story has deeply touched me.
With the holidays upon us, I worry about him. For those going through this, it can be a very difficult time.
I struggle with trying to understand why some people are mean to others, just because they can be. Is it they feel the need to elevate themselves at the expense of others, or do they just want to exact revenge and dole out punishment? Those educated in psychology of relationships and psychotherapy have studied this type of behavior, fixing labels to it. Examples include personality disorders and narcissism.
Case work shows their behavior reflects a sense of entitlement, superiority, or inferiority complex. I will defer to their professional opinions is such matters.
For the most part, I see all the techno-babble as excuses used to try and explain away meanness.
Everyone has their faults and another's meanness is no one's fault but their own.
Yes there are times we all get angry, but if you really care about someone, being vengeful and mean to them is wrong. There is no excuse for it. It will not make either of you feel better.
It is Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all those who have ever shown me a kindness.
Maybe you have a friend or family member that could use a shoulder. Pick up your phone, take a ride. Do it while you still can.
Listen to what you cannot see, you may then see everything.