Ever feel like one of those marbles up there? Rolling along, free, full of potential and then you slowly grind to a halt? You’re so close to those other marbles but – You. Can’t. Quite. Reach. Them. Life and the world seemed good and bright when you were all rolling along. You were in it together. Rolling as a team toward the goal. Doesn’t matter what that goal is, the journey was all that mattered and you were overjoyed to be part of it.
You try to speak to them but you can’t be heard. And then you wonder if they’re also speaking but you can’t hear them. You’re listening but you simply don’t hear what they’re saying, at least not at first. Then you see their true colours and it dawns on you what they’re trying to say.
“Hear me. Don’t just blindly listen but understand me.”
You’re so close but far away.
Something clicks and in a single brief moment you’re connected to the marbles around you. The grey mush inside your noggin, that you’d never noticed before, burns away and a gleaming instance of empathy, understanding and true connection opens up. For that minuscule moment you don’t just hear or see or sense the other marbles, you are one and the same. Your fears, doubts, insecurities, dreams, hopes, desires and everything in between are no longer silly notions you keep to yourself. You know those other marbles are the same as you.
They just want to be heard.
They want someone to empathise with them.
Today I had an almost overwhelming sense of empathy thrust into my nut. It was both wonderful and scary at the same time.
I won’t go into details about who, why or how as this all happened in confidence at work. A few people pointed out I looked stressed, worn out, drained etc. I felt a bit out of sorts but couldn’t put my finger on why. The conversations and meetings I’d had felt routine for the most part, with the exception of a few key moments where this strange sense of empathy came over me.
I genuinely understood those marbles.
Not necessarily through words, but body language, tone of voice, eye contact and facial expressions. My colleagues, the marbles, had ground to a halt. I found that even though I was still rolling along, my momentum was slowly dying. I’m all about being positive and I pushed myself to infect others with that energy, but sometimes it’s hard. Like throwing marbles at a surge of lava from a volcano and expecting them to change its course.
I was glad to finally get outside, feel warm sun on my face and the cool breeze.
On the way home I mulled over what had happened.
In the living room I ate a cheese sandwich, played with the dogs and watched Big Bang Theory. And then not long ago I turned on my PC and headed to YouTube – some uplifting music was needed. Instead I found my way to Oasis – Little by Little, and the emotional train journey I’d been on most of the day dropped into a drain and I sat staring at the music video, feeling every snippet of emotional turmoil scrapping for attention behind my eyes.
My emotional train had pulled into the station and finally had its chance to be listened to.
A comment under the video, not some random quip by an Oasis super-fan, but a genuine love of the lyrics in the song:
That song touched DannyMadFerit (funny name, doncha think?) where he hoped it would somehow define parts of his life history. I thought of all the marbles in my life – daily marbles, distant family marbles, chance encounter marbles – and would I, at 60, look back and wonder if all those memories will have given me everything I dreamed of.
I was singing along when Noel Gallagher belted out: “…why am I really here…?”
And that line got stuck in my throat.
Don’t get me wrong, dear blog reader, I wasn’t feeling sad. Nor happy. Just emotional.
Haven’t we all asked ourselves this question? “Why am I really here?”
God I hope so. If we can’t ask this of ourselves and arrive at an answer then what are we doing here at all? Part of me doesn’t know why I’m here. I’m not an astronaut, scientist, politician, singer, celebrity or anyone famous. I figure it’s highly unlikely I’ll have that sort of huge world-wide impact on anyone’s life.
But that’s okay. I’m probably here for some other reason. To make people smile? To help? To heal? To throw some light into a dark moment of someone’s life? To be something good to someone who needs it? To be a friend – not just a mate. To be me and hope others like me being me.
I admit it’s quite a big question to ask yourself on Tuesday afternoon.
Maybe if we ask this of ourselves every once in a while it could help us show a little more empathy toward our fellow marbles.