Just Listen

by Chris de Serres

I looked up at the timer.  40 minutes.  I tried everything I knew.  I went through all the steps.  Now I had to do the thing I hated most.

“Well sometimes we try so hard and nothing seems to work.  All we can do is try our best in the moment that we have here.”

We can’t fix the mind.  It’s not like an ankle injury.  The mind is a compilation of all our experiences.  So complicated.  Filled with trauma and defense mechanisms.  Past loves and grief.  The crisis is when all of this accumulates and overwhelms us.  Our traditional supports systems no longer work.  So they call us and we try to get them through the day.

The call ended.  I got out of my seat and went for a walk.  I carried the weight.  I needed to collect myself.

My goal has always been to guide my caller to a solution.  I just listen, often for a long time.  Sometimes it’s like i’m not even there.  I just say enough to let them know there is someone on the line, and that’s enough.  The listener.

It’s a lost art.  We struggle to find just one person who will sit with us and listen.  We live in a world of opinions, of suggestions. It’s our daily struggle to fill in the silence.  Every possible moment, fill it in.  When someone comes to us with their problems, we fill that in too.  We drown them out.  The true masters know the power of silence.  I am only a beginner, but I work with many masters.  They call themselves volunteers.

My shift ended.  I went home and caught the last part of the Presidential debates.  There was no silence.  No listening.  No understanding.  No talk of issues.  Nothing but noise.