A great amount of time has passed since I've last seen his face. And although a month may amount to only thirty days, it feels more like 2 years in my book. After a little hesitation, I decided to do what people of my generation would say "Hit him up" and asked the guy if he wanted to join me for a special event that was held around the area that night. I gave him my address and an hour later, he was outside my gate. I remembered seeing his face from faraway, but I couldn't help to notice how different he looked this time around. Something about him just didn't feel right. I opened the gate and he surprised me by giving me one of the biggest hugs I've ever received. It was a long hug and as I stood there speechless, he just held me. After what seemed like forever, we finally walked into my apartment and sat down. With my intuitive bell ringing loudly in my ears, I bluntly asked, "What have you been up to? What's new?" "Promise me, you won't judge me," he said. "I promise."
He then spent the next hour talking while I sat there quietly and listened. It's rare that I get to sit in this particular role so I enjoyed every second of it when I do. He told me about about what happened to him in the past week and how that incident has brought him closer to God. He told me about the consequences that he had to face and the trials that he must go through. He told me about how lonely and hopeless he was and based on his facial expression, I was sure that it was a lot for him to take in. For once, I waited until he was finished talking before I responded.
The moral of his story goes back to: You need to think about your actions and whether or nor it is good for you also known as 'make better judgment.' And while I do not wish upon anyone to experience such exile, rather than looking at his current situation like he was at the bottom of a rabbit hole, I told him that there will always be a silver lining. As cliche as it may sound, 'losing doesn't mean that you've lost a war.' We then proceeded to go watch a cultural performance which was quite uplifting to say the least. Seldomly, I would slyly glanced over to my left in order to catch a glimpse of his face. He looked happier and that, it in itself, has made me happy.
At the end of the night, we said our good-byes outside of my gate. Except this time around, he pulled me in for an even longer hug and thanked me for not making him forget about his worries and distress. Instead, I have given him hope and inspiration to face reality and turn over a new leaf. He finally let me go and drove home.
Now I know it seems as though this is a story of how I have impacted someone's life, but for me, it's a story about friendship and company. The relationships that I have built with my friends sit on several foundations: trust, hope, and time. So while it seems as though my company matters to him, he has made more impact on me than he would ever know. A lot of people would attribute positive relationships to the usage of technology or what have you, but I firmly believe that there is a power that comes with the old-school technique which is simply being present and listening to what someone has to say. As one of the principles of communication, it's different from hearing. Hearing refers to sounds, the mastery that comes with listening, on the other hand, refers to attentiveness and observation between what is being said, what is somewhat being said, and what is left unsaid. My friend, in this case, was extremely honest with me, but I know a part of him was still missing and due to the limited amount of time that we had with each other, he only told me partially what was going through his mind when the events occurred. I understood that and after putting pieces of puzzles together, I've learned that while I didn't say much, he felt my presence and that has made all the difference.
The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. - Rachel Naomi Remen
Nowadays, I try to never use the words "I am too busy" as an excuse to not reaching out to the people I care about. If you mean something to me, there will never be an excuse or an explanation. I will always choose friendships over any agenda that I have planned for that day. Lately, my schedule has been even crazier than usual with things lined up back to back, but I've learned that my life should not just be about work, school, and fitness. There needs to be a balance and the best way to keep my sanity is to surround myself with good company. So I would like to end this post by sharing this reminder with you. My company matters. Your company matters. More importantly, let someone today know that they matter.