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Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Interest Of Being Boring...


I guess we can never say I have a shortage of articulate titles when it comes to writing.  Half of the engagement to drawing someone in has to do with the initial thought and the rest happens if you can hook someone into your topic.  That is what they tell me anyway ("they" meaning some people I fabricated).

When I was in high school, I worked as an intern for a law firm (closing attorneys) and have kept in contact with one attorney and one closing agent I worked under, even though that was about ten years ago.  When the closing agent and I reconnected, she at one point made mention of how interesting my life had become through my experiences since she and I had last seen each other.  This threw me off because I really do not find myself all that interesting, to be honest.  None of this is some dramatic, baggage-laden ploy to get someone to have sympathy for me because I have self-esteem or sensitivity issues, nor am I being unnecessarily hard on myself, but this is the person I have always been as well as the person I see in the mirror everyday. 

People talk to me - really.  The first time I actually took notice of this was when I was a server at a steakhouse during my time as a Seminary student.  Before you read anymore, rest assured, I am not taking a stab at those in food service, but after working in quite a few industries, I can safely say the people who work in restaurants carry more baggage per capita than any other environment I have seen thus far.  When the people I worked with at the time found out I was going to school to be a counselor in some form of ministry, they started following me, and I am not talking about Twitter (that didn't even exist yet).  Working with the same people about fifty hours each week while taking twelve credit hours of classes simultaneously was extremely hard not because of my school work, and not because of my work schedule itself, but because of the personal and never ending drama I was cornered into listening to on a daily basis from my co-workers.  How I remained positive during that time is a mystery even to myself, but I somehow made that happen without a mental breakdown, thankfully.

Fast-forward a few jobs, as well as two careers later, and I still am the guy whom everyone wants to talk to about practically everything, even if I have no experience with the subject.  This is the bit I sort of fit into for whatever natural reason because my ambition to be a counselor became crushed around the same time I made a conscious and spiritually-motivated decision to leave the church.  Back when I was a college student, I assumed the only thing which drew people to me had to do with my course of study, but I was wrong.  While I am sure my vow to do better for the world and comfort other people did have a social magnetism of its own when I was younger, apparently there was much more to the method than originally assumed.  

People like to tell me about their problems and I may not always find them interesting, just as I do not find myself all that interesting, but I still listen because I care - I cannot escape that, nor do I want to.  Part of the reason I write anything has to do with the opinions I have formed and stories I have built from my experiences of listening to other people, because that is really all I do anymore.  
Do you know what I hear all the time?
"You really have it together."
"You have your head on straight."
"You're not like anyone else."
Funny.  I do not see it.

I think I have this role with people, just as I think everyone has a role of sorts in someone else's life.  Making mistakes and doing occasionally stupid things happens to everyone, including me, but sometimes I feel as if people do not pay attention to how often I mess up.  Sometimes people need to talk to someone and immediately flock to me because they are looking at me from a distance, seeing someone who is sober, available emotionally, has his life together, or is even intelligent to a certain degree - but that is pretty much the end of their viewpoint and they make a choice of not seeing beyond any of that.  They see only the serious side and neglect the goofy nature or the snark I possess because they "just need to talk".  

The difference between myself and most other people is a code I have managed to crack.  People want to confide in someone when they are having an issue with themselves, another person, or a stressful situation.  They come to me because I listen;  I always listen.  You see, everyone wants to talk and everyone wants to hear themselves talk to other people, but I do not in those certain moments.  Years ago I realized that being there for a person means shutting your own mouth and leaving your own advice stored away until asked to express those thoughts.  Most of the time, people really just need someone to listen to what they have to say instead of listening to someone else come forward with an opinion about their situation.  Like I said, I listen.

People come to me with problems because they know I care and also that I will not pass judgment nor speak about their situation unless specifically asked.  Over the past decade, this is the person I have become.

I guess I am just a listener.
That is the side everyone sees and is often the only side they make the choice of acknowledging.  Nobody really listens to me because nobody really asks, since my role to them is just to listen.
With that, most assume I am serious all the time because that is the only side they care to know, just like most assume I have some sort of problem with being around people who drink because I made a choice to stop drinking myself quite some time ago.  Not true.
Everybody has something, right?

I guess that is my thing.
Pretty interesting after all, huh?

Grace and Peace,
-Drew

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