We have all felt down in the dumps at one time or another. We have all longed for better times, understanding and compassion. Sometimes all we need is someone to simply listen to us. I was at my local Launder Land doing some glamorous clothes cleaning and a homeless man entered the laundromat, yelling at me, “Bitch! You know what you did!” I just tried to keep on loading washers, wishing I had picked machines further away from the door. The man wandered around the room for awhile, then left. He quickly came back in and politely asked me if I had a pen or pencil. I replied no, and smiled. He then started yelling at everyone in the laundromat very angrily, condemning them and calling them names.
Earlier in the day, I had a long conversation with one of my best friends who I am fortunate enough to be able to talk about absolutely anything with. She agrees with every last one of my crazy ideas and tries to understand my pointless dramas. Most of all, she encourages me to be the person she knows me to be when I have lost the strength to even look myself in the mirror. We were exchanging life frustrations, wondering how certain situations will come to resolve themselves. These are conversations I try to never take for granted, since friends like that are far and few between.
The people in the laundromat had to call the police on the homeless man, who began getting violently angry, frightening everyone who was doing laundry. When the police officer came, he calmed the man down, whom he addressed as “Mike,” telling him to keep calm and to stay away from us. Mike frowned and nodded his head. He just sat there for awhile, then quietly got up, folded some socks up and left. Whatever Mike’s story is, he holds a lot of anger in his heart. People look down on him and he is seen as a nuisance everywhere he goes. His only “friends” are the people he angers, and who tell him to go away.
I thought about my conversation with my best friend earlier in the day, comparing it to Mike’s yelling fit in font of a bunch of strangers. All he probably wanted was for someone to hear him, and feel a piece of his anger at the cruel world he lives in. I realized how blessed I am to have a friend who not only would open her basement for me to reside in if times got tough, but who also believes in me, and most importantly listens to me.
We often get caught up in our lives, forgetting that people help other people get to where they are; whether it be to bring them down, or lift them up. It’s far better to reach down and lift others up. Sometimes being a friend is listening and giving comfort, but the most basic principle of “friendship” with each other is understanding the fragility of the human condition.