Sometimes words fail us.
A few months ago, I found myself at a social function surrounded by people I only know casually. After the inevitable and heated discussion of all things Donald Trump, the conversation slowly turned and focused on an attractive woman who shared that after about a decade of marriage, her husband has moved out, and wanted to separate.
I didn’t say much. I mean, what can you say?
I just listened. I didn’t ask questions, but I was glad, others had the courage.
In the back of my mind, I kept thinking and wondering about the state of my own relationship. One just can’t help but wonder when you hear stories like this, if we truly see the reality of our lives.
Time had passed and I saw her yesterday.
For a moment, we found ourselves standing alone in the corner of the room, and I politely, if not instinctively, asked her how things were going. I knew the answer by the way she was slouching. She seemed to lack all strength and while leaning, the wall seemed to be doing the majority of the work.
She looked exhausted and sad.
She looked tired and pensive.
I learned that things have not gone well.
She uncovered a three year affair. She had reluctantly moved out of her matrimonial home. She packed up what seems like her whole life and now faces the daily grind of unavoidable transition. Her children weigh heavy upon her heart, while friends and family are naturally beginning to be torn and forced to pick sides.
Life is hell.
Full of lawyers and mixed emotions. Anger and betrayal. Sadness and defeat. Life is a torturous grind, with no glimmer of hope on the immediate horizon.
I was speechless and numb.
I was truly sorry. I knew that I probably shouldn’t have asked because I am sure she get asked often, but I was mistaken. Many people are afraid. I didn’t want her to think that I didn’t listen or had forgotten our previous conversation.
I looked her in her tearful eyes and said ‘I have no words. There is nothing I can say that will make anything better. I’m sorry.’
She looked back at me and said, ‘Thank you. At least you had the courage to ask’.
I learned yesterday that sometimes words are not enough, but people still need their chance to be heard.
We have to ask.
We have to allow people to be human.