On Wednesday night of this week, I was speaking with someone about being truthful and honest to the people in our lives. He stated that being too open can lead to betrayal and pain and therefore he doesn’t share his story for fear of being taken advantage of. It was a fair argument but I told him maybe his issue wasn’t being fearful of openness but being open to the wrong people. People we can trust, who won’t use our words and experiences against us, who will listen to understand and be a shoulder to lean on are invaluable.
Earlier in the week, I shared a fatherhood presentation to a group of fathers who have young kids in school. There were dads who were going in to work late and some who had worked all night diligently sitting there to learn more about how they could be involved in their children’s lives, especially when it comes to education. After the presentation while saying; “goodbye” to the fathers one of the attendees came up and began speaking with me. She had some questions about getting a father involved and shared her story. What she told me was hard to hear with many issues and other challenges she’s had to overcome. I couldn’t believe how open she was being when we had just met a few moments earlier. She believes I am someone she can trust with her family.
Openness, transparency, is something most say they desire in themselves and others. However, these can bring feelings of uncomfortableness, questions that aren’t easily answered, and an unsettling fear of not being skilled enough to meet the need. When these thoughts are rushing through our minds the need to breathe and be still must be remembered. Most people don’t want you to fix them they simply need someone to listen without judging. If there are problems to solve and mysteries to unravel we can do them together as we travel this path called life.
This morning, on my way to a mandatory training, I was meandering down a two lane country road when a bright yellow corvette came zooming up behind me. He was in an obvious hurry and began “riding the bumper” of my little red truck. After “peeking” around me a few times we came to a place where he could pass and, revving his engine, raced past me. After a couple of miles the road ended at a red light and waiting on me was my friend in the bright yellow sports car. Almost as soon as I stopped the light turned green and we went through the intersection together.
No matter how much we streamline, rush, try and set up our lives to navigate our paths as quickly as possible, life has a way of slowing us down, evening things out, forcing us to stop, share the road with others.