Saved by Conversation
It has happened many times in my life where I was on the verge, edge, at the end of my tether and someone else, sometimes someone I didn’t even know that, well, saved me. They said something or did something that changed my trajectory. Their kindness and presence changed my life...literally.
We never know how important the thing we say, or the thing we do, or the time we take is going to mean to someone else. And most others don’t know it about us either. The importance of a kind word, good deed, available ear can and often have been for me, life saving and altering.
There is something that happens to us when we are heard by another. Some sort of spiritual alchemy happens and we are transformed and if the listener is very lucky, so are they.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. How one person showing up for another changes us, by just their willingness to be present for us, chuck our own agendas to the side and show up. It is amazing, if you give it a little thought.
There are days when I feel like most of us are on the ledge, thinking about jumping. Maybe not the ledge of life and death, but a ledge none the less. A precipice of change. Haven’t you ever been there, standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon looking down into the abyss and someone comes along and points out that you are actually just standing on a curb? The leap or step you need to take is not nearly as dramatic as you make it. And because this other, this other human, has interfered graciously in your life, you are forever changed. Your journey made easier, your burden leavened, your hardhship lessened.
It doesn’t seem to matter whether the conversation is brief, intense, lengthy, or daily, there are just those moments in our lives when we show up in our authentic pain, selves, mangled by the process of being human and we share that tenderest part of our selves, maybe not even intentionally, and someone, some other human, who is often a complete trainwreck in their own lives in some other way, shows up and talks to us and we are both transformed. The size, duration and magnitude of the transformation is immaterial really...it is the crucible where change occurs and different starts.
What I realized the other day was that I am really “saved” every time I let someone in. Every time I am present and available to another. Sometimes I am doing the saving, more often it is others who are saving me. In a million little ways and sometimes in wide, deep, sweeping changes that alter the course of my life. It can be tiny, minute changes that alter the moment, which then leads to a whole bunch of moments forever altered.
The chemistry that transforms mass into solid, solid into gas in human relations is nothing short of miraculous...and life affirming. Every encounter in our lives, we can use to wake us up or allow the influx of those same encounters to continue to lull us to sleep through this life. The seeming monotony of life, a barrier that keeps us from ever really living, loving and showing up for this most amazing shitshow we call life.
We are transformative in each other’s lives. We give the gift of being heard, seen and loved by our simple and honest way of showing up and talking to another. Simple conversations between addicts and alcoholics has reclaimed human dumpster fires and changed them into productive citizens of the world, who go on to pass what they are given to others, in an effort to save, love, change and alter the course of human suffering. What the actual fuck? That is FUCKING AMAZING!
And it all begins when we talk to each other. The simple act of one person talking, the other listening, then the listener becoming the talker changes everything for each other. We are saved in our willingness to hear the pain, sometimes completely misunderstood by the speaker, and provide a new perspective.
I have been saved by conversation...yesterday. I have been seen and heard and loved through the simple act of talking with another. It happens every day so I tend to miss it because it is so present in my life that I ignore it. It becomes another thing that happens so often that it becomes invisible in my life. I take it for granted and fail to value it. So today, this blog, is my attempt to carve out a moment for myself, and you if you will take it, and honor the love that is expressed when we talk to each other and listen to each other. We allow ourselves to be saved by the things we say to each other. Conversing once again in an effort to more deeply love, live and honor this life we have...if only just for today.