My friend in Los Angeles told me this last week. An old friend from college stood at his doorstep, they had not seen each other for years. He told him that he was in the area and had looked him up online to see if he was still around. And there he was with a big smile. Of course, my friend asked him in and offered him hospitality.
The guy stayed for hours and they caught up on memories and people. After dinner the surprise visitor excused himself and said that it was time for him to move on. My friend walked him out to his car to see him off. That’s when he noticed that the station wagon was jammed with stuff. My friend immediately caught on to this and asked the guy where he was going. There was a long silence and the guy choked on his words.
He told my friend that he’s been sleeping in his car for a month. He’d lost his job due to Covid-19. His landlord showed him no grace and when he could not pay his rent, he was out. Being a person who lived from paycheck to paycheck, he had no buffer.
My friend told me that the guy looked embarrassed, full of shame and humiliated.
“You’re not going anywhere!” said my friend. “You are staying right here with me until you are back on your feet again.!”
Last Friday I wrote about the importance of listening. Being sensitive to the needs of others when they are reaching out.
This guy was not reaching out verbally. But he was loud in his non-verbal communication. The jammed car, his demeanor, his body language – things that my friend picked up on which led him to ask the questions leading to this incredible solution.
I was so touched by what my friend told me. And challenged! In these times when we know people are hurting, when loss of lives, jobs, relationships and other pressures are realities for so many people. We all have to be on the lookout for fellow human beings in need.
If the current crisis is not affecting us personally, it is our responsibility to reach out to those that have been affected. I have spent the weekend asking myself how I can do that and realized that there are people I need to contact and check up on. But also, in my daily life, I need to put on my listening ears, both when it comes to verbal, non-verbal or hidden communication. Asking for help is difficult and we need to make it easy for people to do so.
Have a brilliant day!