A couple of months ago I said goodbye to my former blog Mary 2.0. In it, I chronicled my first year of sobriety and shared so much about myself and my recovery that I thought it was time for a fresh start to reflect the newish me. It was a year of ups, downs and most importantly, a year of learning who I was after pealing back the many layers of me I’d tucked away. The break has been really good. In between, life has been going on and on as it tends to do and I’m ready to say hello to writing again.
I have been so conflicted of late. Everywhere you turn there is news about our new President and I’m considering another Facebook hiatus because of it. People cannot agree to disagree and some of the threads on my feed can turn downright ugly. You see I worked for a newspaper and many of my online friends are from that era. They take the criticism of the media very personally and I don’t blame them. The people I worked with are by and far some of the most honest, truth-seeking people I have ever met. But this is NOT a post about politics.
This is a post about what we need to do for each other. How we need to hear each other’s stories. We need to listen with our ears and our hearts. Really listen. It’s that simple.
Yesterday I was working with a co-worker on a problem that has come up in a project we’ve been working on together over the past year. Instead of jumping right in we started talking about books – she saw a copy of the Woman In Cabin 10 on my desk and I ended up lending it to her when she told me she had heard good things about it. I am an avid reader and if I find a connection with someone else who loves to read, I will feed that relationship with recommendations and books from my own library.
Our conversation then turned to A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (it is the story of an autistic boy who finds a dead dog in his neighbor’s garden) and I remembered we both saw the play (powerful!) a few months ago. We had nodded hello from our seats across the aisle and the next week we briefly talked about our impressions of the show but that was the end of it. When she brought it up again, something made me wonder and I uncharacteristically asked a very personal question. Is your son autistic? It turns out he is and she shared some of what it’s like for her. It’s a life I cannot begin to imagine.
Simple human connection. It can do so much for us, especially when we’re wallowing in our own struggles. I often see the quote about not knowing what other people are dealing with so be kind and I really take it to heart. Yet rarely do I try to find out what that thing is. But isn’t knowing each other and what we’re dealing with part of what gives us a connection? It’s time to ask these questions and stop shouting over each other to get our point across.
The world won’t end because we agree or disagree on important issues. Two catch phrases from my recovery that I hold onto dearly are live and let live and one day at a time. It gives me immense peace to do this. But when times call for tough conversations, let’s try to be gentle with each other and really listen to what is being said. Often we’re missing what they are not saying because we’re busy formulating our own response. Look for the clues. Dig deeper. Learn about each other. And be kind. MC