“It’s amazing how much noise people ignoring each other can make.” – Eoin Colfer
He felt like running. She felt like hiding. They never knew who they were or who they could become. Voices spoke, but it was just noise in a space full of crowded minds. No one was listening. No one cared. They both went their separate ways, knowing nothing of the pain within the heart of the other.
We live in a world full of information and high-tech means of communication, but we’re probably the loneliest and unheard generation of all human existence.
There are far too many hurting souls who are longing for a listening ear, yet we’re glued to the television and our smartphones. People who appear to be “normal” in their daily routines will write me on occasion, telling me that they are struggling with depression or self-harm. Sadly, most people around them have no idea about their battles. One of the most tragic parts of their stories is how no one has listened to them (their lives, not just their voices) to notice that they are hurting. We’re often blinded by own our desires that we use people for companionship, but we never truly invite them to be fully known and safe.
When I first began to seek help for my anxiety disorder, I didn’t always use the best judgement as to who I invited into my personal wounds. I would share my heart with those who really didn’t care, only to be left feeling like a pathetic, misunderstood loser. They weren’t listening. They just started at me, completely checked-out of the conversation. If I’m being 100% honest, they just didn’t care.
It took some time to learn a hard lesson, but it eventually set in:
Don’t invite everyone into your heart. Not everyone cares. There are people who actually dedicated their lives to helping others who are hurting, just as there are friends and family who actually want to hear what’s going on in your head. Just don’t share your heart without using wisdom.
At different times in my life, I have ignored the cries of help from others around me and I’m terribly ashamed that I was so callous and indifferent. There was noise coming from their lips, but all I heard was static in my apathetic ears.
My heart became broken for the hurting when I went through my own hell, learning what it’s like to feel alone, damaged, and misunderstood. It’s often in our pain that we learn how to meet others in the midst of their own darkness.
I no longer want to hear noise when I listen to others or spend time with them. I want to be a safe place for someone else to share the war behind their eyes. There’s no point of one-way friendships any longer. Relationships require us to get messy, which can even involve us carrying one another’s burdens in love and mercy.
As you evaluate your relationships and the people in your life, are you inviting others into a safe place to mourn, to cry, and to heal?
Who do you long to become in a world that is desperate for a listening ear?