I wish this story was about me. Unfortunately, It is not.
Long before Brad, Peggy and instagramming in-between there were Monday nights. Monday nights were a night where myself and my two best friends/roommates would open our home to anyone and everyone that wanted to come over, literally. Often times the street was so full of cars, the yard would become the parking lot. We always had chocolate cookies and Chili's chips and salsa. I cooked a home-cooked meal for everyone (I had in my head that all these male musician friends we had were hungry...) It started as something small and when it ended we would sometimes have upwards of 50 people some Monday nights. Some nights, we were gathered around watching The Bachelor with groups paired off in the kitchen and then some nights we just talked, hung out, fellowshipped.
Everyone that came was different, but similar. All about the same age, demographic, etc. Just a group of college something, young professionals getting together to start off the week with friends.
There was one guy that was different though. He was older than we were, often he didn't smell very good and he never said much. He was very different. But somehow in this group, he found something that kept him coming back Monday after Monday. I'm in the school of thought "be kind, we are all going through something hard..." but when I would see him walking up to the door I would shrug my shoulders and honestly wish he hadn't come. Maybe he was a little "creepy?" I am confident I was just judging him.
Week after week, he came back. I never really noticed anyone really conversing with him ever. He was just there. Sure, we were all nice to him, but on my end it was more of a tolerated him than anything.
One of the guys that came on Monday nights was cooler than most of us, though (at least in my opinion). He was a song writer and musician, and just a cool guy. Maybe he was a little different too.
One night this "group" was hanging out at someone elses house, it was pretty much the same group of people that were around on Monday nights and he was there. Laid back on the couch, arm over the back of the sofa. He smelt bad and seemed sad like usual. I chose to just ignore him.
Then I watched as this cool guy mentioned above walked over and sat right beside him and patted him on the leg like he was an old friend and started up a conversation. The wealth of information that I heard about Star Wars and movies, you would have never believed. He engaged with him, talked to him and was interested in him. Interested in what he said. Truly. He listened and hung on to every word he said.
I remember that it was even time for him to leave and his cool posse called his name and said, "Hey, its time to go!" and he replied without missing a beat "Hold on, I'm talking to _____." And continued on with their conversation until it was genuinely over.
I watched in awe. A true true kindness was displayed right before my eyes. Finally, when ______ got up to leave, and said, "It was great talking to you ______." He shrugged and kind of smiled and as _____ walked away and _____ threw his arm back on the back of the couch again, he relaxed back into his seat from their riveting conversation - he looked full and happy.
And in that moment, I thought to myself and later told him, "You know, I think you may have saved _____ life tonight just by being kind to him and truly being interested in what he had to say."
I think about this often, but especially something tragic happens like suicide and wonder how it could have been prevented.
Let us be kind to one another and love each other a little better and truly listen and be interested in what people have to say. Give them time. You could save someones life.