I had a phone call this afternoon where all I did was listen. 30mins solid of just listening. All that was required of me was the occasional prompts of ‘Hmm’ ‘I see’ ‘I understand’ to reassure my caller that I was ‘still here’.
I had no real advice or opinion to offer. Because I had heard this before and I’m sure I’ll continue to hear it. It broke my heart listening to the voice down the phone. One layered with years of hurt and frustration. A voice that had uttered many of these statements to my ears before. A voice that was looking for comfort from me. A voice that was expecting empathy from me. A voice that was expecting anger from me. Yet all I could offer was ‘Hmm’
I didn’t feel guilty though because my comfort, empathy and anger would do little to make the situation at hand any more bearable. My emotions as compensation for the incumbent hurt would do nothing to expiate it from the body it currently inhabits. So I did not attempt to be condescending and offer any form of condolence. Because in reality it is not I who needs to offer these. But the perpetrator.
So I listened on. And imagined myself in the callers shoes. How would I feel? That’s a difficult one to attempt to articulate because I don’t know , nor – if I’m entirely honest – do I want to know because I don’t anticipate it happening to me.
It’s sad, to say the least that we can toil and graft hard for the things we hold most dear to us and have the Thank You that is long overdue be yanked from us repeatedly and instead we receive a disinterested cold shoulder. But should we expect Thank Yous? I never do and consequently never get let down when I don’t receive them. I do all I do without expecting a reward. Because the reward is the reward. I don’t cook and hope people will enjoy it, I cook so people will be fed – two different emotions are involved for those two different scenarios.
My caller however hangs all actions on expectations for a reward – rightly so given how much they’ve done. So I’m torn on judgement here.
Maybe I shouldn’t make one?
I feel for you dear caller. I hear your cries but have no handkerchief porous enough to contain the many years of hurt each teardrop represents, for I know there are and have been many.
All I can offer you are ‘Hmms’ and ‘I understands’ and ‘I sees’ so you know that…I’m still here.