“Tell me what I need to hear. Tell me that I’m not forgotten. Right now I need a little hope. I need to know that I’m not alone.”
I heard this song on the radio this morning, and it’s been stuck in the back of my mind all day. Not the lyrics, or even the tune. Not in an ear-worm kind of way at all. (I had to Google the lyrics, in fact.) But it grabbed me nevertheless. Spoke to me, in fact. And I really don’t like what it had to say to me.
“Jeff,” that song has been nagging to me all day, “you’ve been going about this all wrong.”
Let’s set aside for the moment how much I don’t like being wrong. I don’t like it so much that it practically never happens. (As far as you know.) Because the sad truth is, I know I’ve been doing this wrong.
The goal – make every step count – is solid. Maybe even achievable. The execution – narrow focus, eliminate distractions, find that One Thing – not so much.
When I listen to that song, I realize how many times I might have mattered to somebody else. I realize how many opportunities to make a difference – to count – were missed because instead of people in need, I saw only distractions.
I can’t even begin to wrap my head around the “if onlys” and “what abouts” I left hanging.
A few days ago I was burdened (I think the word the super-religious use is “burdened”) with a concern for so many of the people I interact with on a daily basis. I felt a wave of empathy like I’d never experienced – for anyone – in my life. I felt their struggles, their pain, their anger and confusion. I saw their loneliness and hurt, their betrayal and resentment. It was overwhelming.
It was specific. It was like I knew these people – I mean KNEW them – better than they knew themselves. It was like I knew things about them- things they certainly never shared with me.
It freaked me out a little. (OK, a lot more than a little.) I’m a pretty religious guy. I was raised to love Jesus and read my Bible. But I was raised Southern Baptist. These charismatic events weren’t pooh-poohed, per se, but they by God didn’t happen to us.
And just like that, it was over. Done. Gone. Everything I knew faded back to a dull ache, a need to help. But who, exactly? And how, precisely?
I did the best I could. I posted to Facebook. (That’s only pseudo-funny. I didn’t know what else to try.) I posted:
Friend, when I see you today I may not know your pain or sorrow, but I’m there for you anyway. You don’t have to ask for my help or support – you have it. You don’t have to share your burden if that makes you uncomfortable. Just know that somebody is thinking of you, that someone is there for you, that someone is praying for you.
Maybe that’s all the song is asking of me now.