Elvis is dead – Sinatra is dead ? and me, I feel also not so good.Before you scroll down to the next post … scratching your head … wondering where this is going … I want you to think carefully about all the people in your life who are constantly reminding you of THEIR issues … whether health or not. Yes, we all have them … some we encourage because we love them and others we suffer. Before you judge them too harshly let`s try to step into their shoes for a few minutes.
Dear old aunt Aggie lives alone and has no one to talk to. Aside from CNN (I know she talks to the TV because someone says they caught her) she has no one much to hear what she needs to say. Most of her peers are gone and one by one her idols are dying too. A short time ago she lost Tom Bosley … who`s next ? Elizabeth Taylor … God forbid! Aunt Aggie feels quite alone … until … someone comes to visit … or until she goes shopping and has the captive ear of the checkout clerk … or until she attends a funeral at your funeral home and earmarks you as a nice person … a new `listener`.
The first time she comes to prearrange you treat her like a queen. You listen intently as she rambles on about other prominent family members … all whose funerals were conducted by your competitors … and she has your attention. The next visit … arranged to finalize, becomes another ?talk fest? … but she still has your rapt attention. Visit three is a bit strained and by the time she calls for the sixth time you roll your eyes and confront her outright about the choices … ?sign the papers? today or please don?t call until you are ready to do so.
Aunt Aggie hangs up and you hear nothing until reading the obituaries a year or so later. The widow of an international diplomat, she died alone … no family … no one … left three million dollars to the University where she taught for forty years … and the equal sum to a blind man who spoke to her regularly on the phone. She finally found someone who wasn?t too busy listen.
Customers that we perceive to be ?time wasters? or ?energy vampires? are with us every day of our business lives and I am not suggesting for a minute that we give these folks our attention only to capitalize on them. What I am saying is this … the next time you are confronted with a similar scenario, be honest with the person. If you discern them to be genuine ?nice, lonely old people? and you feel a duty to listen to them … find your own way of making it happen.
In my own situation, I finally resorted to making monthly appointments with one old fellow. They were only half-hour visits to me (time I might have spent playing computer solitaire), but to him, they were a lifeline … and lest you think the sharing time was all one sided, I would need another ten blog entries to tell you about the things that I gained from our conversations. I will forever cherish the memories of our shared monthly time together.
I encourage you to manage your perceived ?time wasters? in a new way but remind you to always stay in the driver?s seat with the timing. You will be surprised to find how eager they are to talk … even for just a half-hour.
We all share this common path of life. There are rocks and potholes to negotiate and smooth paved stretches to languish in but the time spent listening to the story of another pilgrim on the journey is time spent in the presence of God. The mystery of our lives often seems self driven but … if we allow ourselves the opportunity and executed wisely through others … we can hold up a magnifying glass to our own lives and have an opportunity to examine ourselves in a new way.
I will never forget that man and, although he never did preplan with me, I did conduct his service. Upon ordering a ?quarter-cut solid oak casket?, his lawyer/executor told me how much that old man valued our monthly meetings. The day that he first called under the pretense of preplanning his service, his first words to me were … ?Elvis is dead … Sinatra is dead … and me, I feel also not so good?.
I will remember those words forever.