Tag Archives: friendship

Hearing vs Listening

I started writing this a while ago. I am compelled to finish it now.

Hearing is simply the art of perceiving sound by the ear. Hearing just happens. Listening is something you consciously choose to do or not do.
With listening you need to not only comprehend what the person is saying to you but then you need to decide if you care enough to do what needs to be done. It’s something you need to do or not do. It can be as easy as putting the toilet seat down to stopping a behavior that the other person is unable to handle.
I wrote a blog about owning what you say & if you hurt someone with those words, apologize. https://ppetroline.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/own-it/ There is another part that is very important, your actions.
Your actions and your listening skills are very important. When someone tells you how they feel or how your actions make them feel…listen. Don’t blow it off thinking, “Oh, she’s just being over sensitive”, “He doesn’t really mean it”, “That can’t be true”. Well guess what? She isn’t being over sensitive! He did mean it! It is true!
Own it! Don’t play victim because someone hurt your feelings by telling you the truth about how you make them feel.
Don’t let it get to the point that someone bites your head off because you’ve pushed them over the edge. Listen to what people say to you. Don’t just perceive a sound, comprehend it and do something.
Sometimes it can go years before one gets backed into a corner and can’t handle the inconsiderate actions of the other. Relationships need to be based on listening, comprehension, actions and love.

If He Only Had Faith

While at church, I heard someone comment about Robin Williams, “Fame & money didn’t help him. He needed faith”. That was a sad and ignorant statement! I have faith but that doesn’t make me immune to depression and mental health issues.

I have been consumed by the dark fog of depression and despair many times. Sometimes it is so dark and deep, that I can’t find the words or the energy to pray. I can barely breathe. I’ll open my mouth . . . but there are no words; only tears running down my face. The feelings of hopelessness and helplessness can be all consuming. I’ve been on that slippery slope.

I thank God for His love and grace, and for my professional counselors and my dear friends who have pulled me out of that darkness. I know the Bible verses about faith and not worrying. There are times when it’s hard for me to get the strength to read or even think about those verses. Sometimes it’s hard to hold on to faith. I can’t explain what it’s like when your brain is in a dark void, and where rational thinking isn’t an option. To hear someone say, “Where’s your faith?”, “The Bible says ‘fear not'”, or “Cheer up!”, while I’m in that dark place, will actually pull me farther into the place that I’m desperately trying to get out of.

There are some people who will hear “All you need is faith” and not seek the help/medication they need because they feel people will think they are weak. So instead of getting help they suffer silently; ashamed of what they are going through.

By saying “If he had more faith”, you are blaming him for his disorder/brain chemistry imbalance.

As a dear friend of mine said in a sad response to these remarks, “And the stigma continues”.

If you have not been effected by depression or a chemical imbalance, you have no room to talk. Please know your facts. Don’t be so quick to judge. Reach out to those who are struggling with mental health issues, but don’t try to “fix” them. Be the shoulder they need to cry on, an ear to listen, or just check in on them. Don’t let those who are suffering from mental illness suffer alone or slip through the cracks.

It rained hard the day Robin Williams died. I’d like to think it was because he was up in Heaven telling jokes and everyone was laughing so hard they cried.

Own It

2012 was a crazy year. It started out uneventful. When we got to the last 3-4 months…totally different thing.

It seemed to spiral out of control. Words, like hairball & smile, to be exact, were a large part of what saddened my heart as 2012 started to wind-down.

The first word, ‘hairball’, was so offensive to a person that it ended an 11 year collaboration and friendship.

The other word was ‘smile’. As words go, smile isn’t a word you would think could cause such a problem. Timing is everything and the timing of the word smile on my Facebook page knocked the wind out of me, added to my heartache, and almost ended a 52 year friendship.

It’s one thing to make a comment that makes someone cry but also lightens their heart. It’s another thing to make someone cry and crush their already broken heart.

If yours words, no matter how innocent you think they are, come across wrong or are taken in a way you didn’t mean them…correct it. Not only correct it, do it quickly. Own it and apologize.

Some people don’t realize the power behind words. The person dishing them out may think the other person is being too sensitive…it doesn’t matter.

A half-hearted apology will lead to a half-hearted acceptance. That will leave a huge elephant in the room.

Words can hurt or words can heal.

Choose yours carefully.

To Everything There is a Season


Standing up for a friend and/or doing what is right can lead you down a path you didn’t expect to travel.

The author, a mutual friend, poured her heart out on the page to give the reader a glimpse of what she was feeling. When asked if I thought it was alright to remove part of a sentence in the piece…I said no. I tried to explain how important it is to leave the piece as it was written.

I felt a whirl-wind of emotions while making my way through the chain of events that happened after that meeting. After a series of emails…the piece was pulled from the program. The short list of emotions I was feeling included: disbelief, heartache, frustration, and love.

My disbelief was mixed with heartache and frustration as I tried to understand how some people could be so closed-minded that they will not listen to facts. By digging in her heals and not listening to me, she would throw away over a decade of friendship and collaboration. I also had a hard time understanding how another friend would turn into “Switzerland” so not to get involved.

I am thankful for the undercurrent of love that was flowing through me during this time. The love that gave me the strength to follow this path. Also the love for the author and for what she had written.

As God says in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, for everything, which includes everyone, there is a season.

I am sad that what I have done for 11 years…seasons…has come to an abrupt end. I know that God will lead me and guide me through my next season.

THE HEALING BRICK
By: Julia Kovach

Nervously, I approach the Angel Statue thinking I’ll have to search for my son’s recently engraved and installed paving brick, but I look down and there it is, nestled in amongst all the other little angels, his name in print, for the entire world to see.

This sight provokes something unfamiliar in me; deep in my soul, in my very core. I kneel down and through my thin grey slacks I can feel the cold, hard, roughness of the bricks on my knees.

“My knees could bleed as I pay homage”, I think, as if atoning, “Let them, I would almost be grateful.”
I touch the words, ‘MICHAEL S. KOVACH, PRECIOUS SON’.

“Oh sweetie, look at you; you’re finally here.” I whisper.

Humbly, I bend down and kiss his name. Instantly I flash back to the hospital and he is in my arms again, and now I am not feeling the cold textured brick, but am kissing his face.

I open my eyes, tears streaming.

Like a cat coughing up an unmanageable hairball, thirty years of guilt, grief, and torment begin to rise, large and ugly, from deep within and catch in my throat.

I remember when I was pregnant with him and how I didn’t watch my diet and I didn’t reduce my stress and I didn’t get enough sleep. And I remember laboring, and how I screamed, “Don’t let me die!” but I didn’t scream for the life of my own son.

“Please forgive me.” I whisper.

I hear a guttural animal groan escape from inside me; as the words allow my agony to detach itself and release.

I was like a broken bone that had healed misaligned and needed to be re-broken so that it could be set right and mend properly.

Michael’s brick has been my one quick SNAP! I am now re-broken, re-set, and relieved.

I am deeply comforted and grateful, and finally healing well

Tomato Juice & Hashbrowns

The first time I met Julia was over lunch with a mutual friend, Nancy. We all had an awesome time! There was a connection and level of comfort that is usually reserved for old friends.

She sent me a Facebook message afterword, apologizing if she talked too much. I told her she didn’t and the fact that I’m a good listener didn’t hurt. 😉

We have had a few marathon lunches since our initial meeting. There are a few things, important things, that we have in common. We have both lost a child, share a passion for writing, and share in God’s savings grace.

From what I understand, she can get “snarky” and get her bipolar “feathers” ruffled. So I’ve been told. I have not seen it. What I have seen is a very creative person who does have a tendency of over-thinking things. She has taught me that a yam isn’t just for Thanksgiving anymore.

I seem to ground her and she has given my creativity wings. I would still be in the ‘I really should start putting my ideas down on paper’ mode. Well, not really paper. You know what I mean.

I thank God everyday for the opportunity to be Julia’s friend.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (TNIV)
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 I
f they fall down, they can help each other up. But pity those who fall and have no one to help them up! Continue reading

Whitney

It is sad that Whitney Houston lost her battle and her life to her addictions. It is also sad that her “friends” were not there for her. Not Whitney the super star; but Whitney the vulnerable, lost friend.

She needed a safety net and she didn’t have it. That is the really sad part; people put their agenda above helping her.

R.I.P. Whitney. I’m sorry you were not able to be helped. Maybe in losing you, others will be helped.

Your addictions were not only yours, but belonged to the doctors and “friends” that enabled you. Those that were standing by your side but not looking out for your best interest.

When someone is lost in the fog of addiction, they can not find their way out on their own. They need the help of caring doctors and friends. Those that aren’t afraid of getting their feelings hurt. Those that will be there when you are heading down a slippery slope and are holding on to you as if their life depended on it too.

That’s what was missing from Whitney’s life. Something money can’t buy.