Monday, February 17, 2020

Compassion Fatigue?

The other day I called my parents, and after saying "hello" they talked for ten minutes about some little hike they took. After a few minutes I started to tune them out. I debated telling them “nice talk” and hanging up. I’m feeling a little lonely, a little depressed, and like I don’t have much influence over my life at the moment... and no one is listening.

I love helping people. I love introducing people to new things and pushing them further than they have done before. However, it can turn into an obligation, especially at work when someone has yet another Creo question. I read most of the Five Love Languages by Gary Champman this weekend. Despite being a fan, and reading the workplace book he wrote, I had never actually read the original. He mentions babbling brooks and dead seas, as talkers and listeners. I think I’m a listener. I feel like I talk all the time, but I don’t really. I’ve been considering some of my relationships lately, looking for the person to tell all of these recent inner struggles to, but no one person seems to fit the bill. I don’t mean that negatively against any of my good friends, more so against myself. I trust most of these people with my life, why can’t I trust them with my ridiculous emotions? Why the reservations?

There are so many people in the world struggling. I have the best life in the world, it is objectively awesome. Yet I still feel like I’m searching for something to fill a void. I’ve prayed about it a lot. I feel in a way that no one knows me. And yes, I realize that blogging about this will be seen as radical transparency by some people and a deep emotional revelation, but it’s really just talking about talking, not the actual conversation. Sure blogging and writing is a good way to work out my feelings, but it’s not the really deep stuff. 

I was asked recently what the most emotional or memorable moment on Everest was for me, and my answer wasn’t totally truthful. There was a moment my mind flashed to that was quite emotional for me, and I don’t actually think I have told anyone about it, almost four years later. But like the movie “Inside Out” it’s a complex emotional memory. I could tell the facts, and that moment would seem insignificant, even to the people that witnessed it, but in the context that it happened, it was totally unique for me. It was the kind of moment I want more of. While not a word was said, the message was clear.

So I don’t know. I woke up an hour and a half before my alarm this Monday because I haven’t been sleeping great lately. Please pray for me. Pry at me, try to get me to talk, and then actually listen. I’ll surely push back, because I can sit in silence with the best of them. I’ll even try to get the conversation back to you, despite the fact I do want to talk. 

While this post is about me, it’s also not about me. There are many others like me, with the same thoughts and reservations. Maybe I just plain won’t talk to you, but that other person in your life will. That other person needs you to listen. For me being in silence with another person is totally okay. It’s a way of bonding and building trust. When the words do come, there is a trust there that I won’t be humiliated by your reaction, but that my words will be listened to and thought about, not just reacted to. Again, I’m not the only person like this. I realize it can be hard for people to have a silence, but I think sometimes that’s what’s needed to build trust. 

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