“All the lonely people
Where do they all come from
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong” Paul McCartney
I was writing in a café today. It’s sometimes helpful to be in a different environment, away from my desk at home or one of my offices where I sometimes sit looking blankly at my computer screen all by myself. Maybe the presence of other people and a change of scenery helps stir up a little creativity … at least that’s the hope. And, if nothing else, I get a special, if not pricey, cup of coffee.
So I’m sitting there writing about being present with yourself and with others. I’m looking at the themes of authenticity and exploring the life changing experience of moving from a cancer diagnosis through treatment and into post treatment. I manage to get into a pretty good flow when a women comes to sit opposite me. I’m at a small table so I move some of my paraphernalia to allow her more space. She is quiet, not interruptive or intrusive in the least. But then when I have to leave and start to pack up my computer, she makes contact with me by asking where I am going. I let her know I have to return to work. She’s a bit confused as she had assumed I was working (which is, actually, correct). She asks me what I do and I tell her that I am a psychotherapist. She doesn’t speak much English and doesn’t understand so I tell her I am a counselor. She asks me where I work and I tell her, “down the street.” When I stand up she implores me, “please don’t leave,” and then points to her eyes and says “I am not happy, you can see that.” In fact, I do see that and tell her so. I tell her to take care and that I really must go. Before I get to the door, I turn around to wave at her and she says, “See you tomorrow.”
This encounter reminds me of how lonely it can be to feel unhappy and isolated. Sometimes we just need to sit next to someone and feel connected. I don’t think that it was a coincidence that this woman picked me to sit with even though she had no way of knowing that my thoughts and feelings were focused on the importance of being open, respectful and caring in a relationship that is healing. The moment reminds me that we are all dealing with something and how important it is just to be compassionate and, perhaps, offer a helping hand.