An online friend and I were discussing the Trayvon Martin case and our unhappiness with the verdict. We both have sons, and we both can understand how a young boy might react if followed by a menacing man in the dark and unable to get away. 'Stand your ground' doesn't just apply to men with guns...it applies to teenage boys in hoodies.
She is a practical person, and I messaged her precisely because I needed to hear some sensible discussion on it.
She lives on the other side of town, not far. I could walk. I know that we have a great deal in common, perspective-wise. We share the same sense of humor. She is currently dealing with a lot. A teacher, off for the summer, confined home with a loved husband who deals with a progressive and debilitating illness. Her children grown and gone. She's adrift, her life roles redefining themselves.
I've been in those shoes several times in my life. I understand the loneliness and uncertainty of it, as you struggle to regain your footing in the ebb and flow of life.
After talking for several minutes, my friend said, "I have a big porch, and a manicured lawn. When are you coming over to sit on my porch and drink wine with me?" I told her that Tim worked second shift and that I was free most evenings. Her response was simple and stark. This busy active woman said, "Please come. Sometimes I get so lonely, I can't stand it.
It gave me pause. Several times in my life, I have been in her shoes. When my marriage broke apart, when Tim and I married, when I struggled with our difficult extended families, cancer, school...I struggled and doubted, and quietly carried on as best I could. I find myself wondering what would have happened had I just raised my head and looked at another human being and said, "I'm so lonely, I just can't stand it."
Would it have made a difference? Maybe. I don't know. I wasn't as brave as my friend, and I never had the courage to utter the words.