Every so often I think of this man I once knew. I met him at a party. Well actually his party since he was the host. As with all parties, I helped in the kitchen to avoid socializing in large crowds. It was my job to prepare and pass out the Jello shots. There were lots of friends there and we all had a really great time!
But late in the evening- when everyone else was passing out and just a few people could get intimate in their dialogue… (my favorite part of a party)… I found that him and I were alone with the opportunity to discuss life and love… (my favorite but very general topics). Our conversation surprised me or I should say “stuck with me” in a strange way. This man, Dan… the sociable host and I connected on a very deep level. He told me how much of a struggle it was living without his daughter after the divorce with his wife and how hard she made it for him to see the sweet little “love of his life.” He was kind, but in so much pain! We chatted a few times on the phone after that but then I started overthinking, “I’m only 21, he’s 40-something. I shouldn’t lead him on because when it comes down to it, I cannot date someone that much older!” I felt like he had been giving the vibe that he wanted more than I could give, so I made a polite excuse not to hang out with him. I didn’t hear from him again after that. It made me sad, but I figured it was just the ways of dating.
Several years later in talking with an old friend, it came to my attention that shortly after that time, he blew his brains out with a gun. I know that it had nothing to do with me. I know that it had to have been about the hopelessness in not seeing his little girl. But I think, what if I had just accepted the invitation to hang out with him? What if I had just been there as a friend? What if I had just listened instead of letting my ego hinder the flow of brotherly love? What could I have done? What should I have done?
I also know that I cannot be anybody’s savior. I could not have saved him from himself and his demons. Nonetheless, I could have guided him to somebody who could have helped him through his struggles… who could help him to overcome those demons.
Now-a-days, it is so hard for me to reject people. There are people who are weird, who are homeless, who seem lost, or who seem really happy but something just doesn’t feel right… All people need our love! Because this conversation, this friendship, this moment might be exactly what they need to get through this tough time or that convinces them to step back from the ledge. You never know who’s on the brink… Ready… with their finger on the trigger.
You just never know.