Thursday, August 9, 2012

No Deposit, No Return

My online friend Bill, who posts at Cycleguy's Spin, wrote a recent post where he talked about how he had in the past hurt folks with his words. Whether it was sarcasm or inappropriate jokes, even though he meant them in jest or fun, they still caused others pain. Finally, a friend confronted him with an assessment that accurately described his condition, he "assumed a familiarity that was not there". For some reason, these words have stuck with me. But I have been thinking about them from a slightly different point of view.

When people that you know come to you with news about losing their job, about going through a divorce, about a recent diagnosis, or any number of other things that cause them hurt, anxiety, despair, frustration, or the deepest of soul pains, healing words most often seem only to flow forth from those that they have a history with. Trite lines declaiming, "my thoughts and prayers go out to them", are insignificant and meaningless from strangers or outsiders. The soothing, healing balm of comfort and strength, reassurance, commiseration, and empathy, only comes from those who have made a significant investment in our lives. Not from those who interact with us only at the most shallow and pedestrian levels. There is little value returned in the dark moments of live without significant deposits along the way.