Is anyone listening?
I spotted Joe doing impossible (for me anyway) pull ups at a chinning bar on our Long Beach boardwalk. He had gray hair which made the sight of his L shaped body-lifts even more compelling. Then I saw him describing through gestures to a woman, the muscle groups involved. It was obvious to me he was a Personal Trainer with his client. I approached to inquire within.
There was a look of delight in his face when I asked, “You’re a Personal Trainer, right?” Then he grinned wide and warm when he said, “You’re not going to believe this but I’m a tax consultant.”
Joe is 61 but looks fifty one and he’s built like a thirty-one year old Marine D I. Yes, he’s in the tax consulting business but balances the books of life by getting up from the desk and out on his bike and the boardwalk for physical fitness.
He’s been into fitness all of his life and he encourages others to join him. He’s always willing to give tips and encouragement to anyone. He told me he had a group of four men on the boardwalk from sixty to eighty who had never done any fitness routines in their lives. He taught them how to do pull ups and push ups. He coached them gently and watched daily with pleasure as they continued to improve.
Tragedy struck Joe a few years back. His brother was driving when he got into a car accident. His brother’s wife was very seriously injured. His brother felt so bad about it that he eventually killed himself.
Joe thinks if someone in such distress can just talk to another it could make a difference. He thinks people in general need to speak to each other more often. Joe talks to people all the time. He believes that it’s just a good way to live. He said that giving in church is fine. But there is another giving that makes a difference too, a more powerful difference, “It’s the giving of your time.”
Joe has been around the Long Beach boardwalk for twenty years, and he is well known on these boards. As I walked with him many walkers, joggers and bikers had a, “Hi Joe.” or a smile and a nod or a grin as big as his. I could easily see the kind of guy Joe is, open, gregarious, easy with people he comes upon.
He says it doesn’t matter what organized religion you belong to as long as you, “draw the truth from within you and bring it out to others.” He says “Everyone’s heard, ‘From your lips to God’s ears,’ well I say, ‘From God’s lips to our ears…is anyone listening?’”
Joe is the second person in a month that I came upon whose brother killed himself.
See When we Meet: https://leebythesea.me/2015/08/19/when-we-meet/
The irony that September is Suicide Prevention month has not been lost on me.
People suffering from serious depression need help, professional help. But I think we all contribute to the general well being of our fellow man. I think Joe is right when he says, “just draw the truth from within you and bring it out to others.”
I think engaging others, really listening to them, impacts them…and us as well. I think that even small positive interactions among us trekkers of planet Earth makes this orbiting ball just a tiny bit better…for us all.
Now as Joe said, “From God’s lips to our ears, is anyone listening?” I think Joe is.
Suicide Prevention Hotline 1 800 273 TALK (8255)
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:https://www.afsp.org