I strained a back muscle a couple of days ago. For now it’s hard to stand up from a chair, or to get out of bed. “Tis nothing serious, and ibuprofen brings temporary relief.
So I decided (or my back decided) not to bowl today. Nonetheless I, having enjoyed lunch with Ben and Mel, took myself to the bowling alley simply to be with friends.
Well, there’s nothing like a bad back to bring out the physician in every person. “Use heat”, said one. “Use an ice pack”, said another. Yet another offered to walk on my back.
As we left the alley I said to Ben “I came to bowling today looking for sympathy. All I got was advice!”
(“You’re lucky you got anything” was his tongue in cheek reply).
It reminded me of the time about ten years ago when “S” came to see me in my office in Pittsfield. She was rebuilding her life after a miserable break up of her marriage.
She began to talk. After three or four minutes I sprang into my usual problem solving mode, and have her the benefit of my wisdom.
She drew herself up and let me have it! “Michael”, she said, “I didn’t come here for advice. I am perfectly able to sort out my own decisions. I came here because I wanted someone to listen to me”.
“Someone to listen to me”. Isn’t that something for which we all long? and those, who like me are non-stop talkers, are really saying “please listen to me”.
I am reminded of an old bit of verse.
“Oh the comfort,
the inexpressible comfort
Of feeling safe with a person.
Having never to weigh thoughts
or measure words.
But pour them all out, just as they are
chaff and grain together.
Knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them
Keep what is worth keeping.
And then, with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.