Ever notice how when looking at someone's face you can tell basically every detail of their present feelings and thoughts? A whole story is wrapped up in the eyes. A whole story is wrapped up in the wrinkles. A whole story is wrapped up in the direction the way the lips tilt. A whole story is in the seconds of eye-contact. Personality, insecurity, offensive accusations, and judgments, or lack of judgments, are etched on a person's face. Why do you think I like looking at you when you speak?
However, have you ever paid attention to the fine notes of inflection in one's statements? Inflection and face combined convey the entirety of one's desire to be heard and understood despite what they are communicating verbally. You can say one sentence, it can be a complete lie, and yet I there is always an element of truth that can be detected.
If you have ever spoken with me, you know that when I listen I listen for what you need. If you need me only listen and not respond, I hear it. If you need me to encourage, I hear it. If you need me to assure you of your opinion, (if it's a good one) I will. If you need me to intervene when lies are being spoken, I will with a purposeful force. I will do whatever you tell me to do with your words, with your inflections, with your tone, with your face, with your eyes, with your lips, with your hands. It makes for a fun conversation because really I am only gifted in listening, you are the one counseling yourself with me being your filter.
However, this gift, or should I say "'gift," has its downside. Instead of being able to sit and relax, I sit and stir. I am always thinking, always pushing for a better way to solve a problem, always thinking about how others are processing and getting by. Can I just be honest and say it's exhausting at times? Not to say I don't enjoy hearing your thoughts (seriously I thrive on hearing you), but it can be extraneous and energy depleting because I care so deeply about you.
It is ironic that I can hear other people so clearly even when they are not speaking, but I cannot hear myself. And why is it that when I finally hear myself, I turn and run in the opposite direction? My life's passion is hearing other people and helping to further their maturity in life... but when it comes to me I hold myself to such a high standard of perfection and failure-less existence that I create situations where I always fail and never succeed, thereby decreasing the accuracy of my ear and fogging my judgment. A somewhat vicious cycle.
However, by listening to your face, to your voice, and to your words, I have learned that in order to take better care of you, I have to take care of me. I have no doubt that my life has been called from a young age to be poured out for other people...but with that comes a certain amount of depression because life is not as it should be-yours or mine. People have said I have a "depressed disposition" but who wouldn't have a depressed disposition when you hear the things I hear, see the pain I see, and experience the torture with the one's communicating with me? I see it, I hear it, I feel it; it affects and effects me.
However, you know what the most amazing thing is I see?
When I look into someone's eyes and amidst the pain, horror, depression, insecurity, loneliness, and isolation...I see hope.
I wish I could explain what it looks like or feels like, it is very distinct, but somehow it would almost diminish the potency of this vivid reflection if I tried to explain it. If I one day sit there talking with you and see this "trait," if that's what we wanna call it, I will know for a fact You Will Be Okay and you should know that in that moment you have instantly brought me an abundant amount of relief.
I have to admit I have seen this hopelessness in a small few and...it was awful-like walking with the dead. However, this enlightens the point that the vast majority of people I have come across has the endurance to carry on. Human beings are quite amazing at pushing through circumstances and adapting to change. This quality of hope has carried us through boundaries, limitations, and injustice.
If you feel hopeless, can I just suggest one thing? Find a person you trust, sit facing each other, one foot between the both of you, and silently look each other in the eye for a full TWO MINUTES (no looking away). After the two minutes are up, talk about what you saw in the other persons eyes, then talk about what you felt as they looked into yours.
A WORD OF CAUTION:
You may feel very uncomfortable doing this but sitting in this tension is important. Push.
What you feel or see in this exercise is precisely the fuel that drives my passion and motivates me to keep going. If I can make one confession it is this: I may be a depressive personality but, ironically, the nemesis of depression is what pulses through my veins-hope. I see in your faces, in your eyes, and in your tone; hope. Hope is why I endure the pain with you.
My ending question must become this then: Where...does HOPE come from?