5 Years of milestones
5 years of holidays
5 years of not hearing your voice
5 years of needing advice, but not being able to ask
5 years of missing your hugs
5 years of grieving
5 years of wondering why death is so permanent
5 years of looking for signs that you are still around
Most people are talking about the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump today. Many people are tired from staying up late watching the election coverage. But today, I am tired from spending my night replaying your life and death in my mind. Trying to put on the mask because, after all, it has been 5 years, and people have moved on with their lives.
I feel small today. I am just a woman who is missing her dad. I am not thinking about national security, immigration, or the economy. I am thinking about planning a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs or homemade chicken soup with kluskis in memory of my dad. I hope that what’s left of my family will join me in celebrating his life.
Today, I say good morning to my colleagues, check my e-mails, handle student issues, attend meetings, as if it’s business as usual. I don’t expect anyone at my work to know it has been 5 years since my dad passed away and how hard it has been and continues to be. I wish that I could just scream out to the world, “Today is really hard for me. Please have patience with me. Please be kind to me. Please listen to me tell a story about my dad. Please let me honor him today.”
This got me thinking about people in general. I see the SAME people every day, yet we don’t know anything about each other; anything meaningful anyway. And honestly, I get the feeling that people don’t really ‘want’ to know more. At first I thought it was just the culture of my place of employment, but I see it everywhere. I see this superficial relationship with neighbors, so-called friends, and acquaintances I’m around routinely. It seems that a lot of people are projecting an image themselves and giving little investment to having meaningful relationships with others. Our world has really lost sight or simply minimized the importance of being genuine. We say the standard good morning. We ask the standard questions about the weekend. We gossip about the latest drama at the workplace. We like a picture on Instagram.
Has it always been like this? Are these shallow relationships enough? If I post something on social media and get validation, do I feel that people care about me? The answer is NO, NO and NO. Since I’ve made this realization, I can’t help but wonder if I too have fallen into this behavioral trend as well… Is that why I find myself feeling isolated? Who do we turn to when we really need to have an emotional conversation?
I am reading Daring Greatly right now, and I can’t stop thinking about how Brown emphasizes the importance of the people “in the arena with you” through it all. Of course my dad is irreplaceable, and he is missing from my arena. I feel the emptiness all of the time.
Although the people in my arena seem fewer and farther between, there are also amazing people who are in my arena. They are the people who I have had honest conversation with, the people who have seen me cry, the people who just know when I am struggling or seem off. I need to show gratitude to those people. So, thank you to the people in my arena who have listened to me ramble about my life and genuinely cared. Thank you for taking the time to really hear me. I would like to foster more deep relationships so that arena can grow, and the only way I know to do that is to genuinely care deeply about the people in my life.
I challenge everyone to have a genuine conversation today. Ask someone how they have been and really HEAR the response. Ask someone to show you a picture of their children or their dog .Appreciate the things that they are choosing to share with you. Make it a point to compliment someone on something that may otherwise go unnoticed. Let someone talk for the majority of the conversation instead of just waiting for your turn to talk. Practice really getting to know the people who you see every day. They might just end up in your arena one day.