Reach Out and Touch Someone

By Stephen Minsitry Leader Diana Laskaris

There are times when I feel like all I do is work and sleep and work and sleep and slog it out just to keep my head above water. I can read about someone who’s gotten a rave review on something that seems trivial to me and yet I feel as though that’s a bigger accomplishment than I’ve had in awhile. Cat videos can make me smile for a time, but eventually, I have to get back to work, trying to make some forward progress when nothing seems to come easily. Have you ever felt that way?
Other times we’re not okay but we don’t want anyone to know we’re not okay. It can be difficult to share what’s really going on when there are challenges in your life but everyone around you seems to be thriving. Social Media posts about vacations and promotions and unexpected bouquets of flowers can make us all feel that we’re just not having the success or romance or fun that everyone else is - or thinks that we are. There’s a sort of false patina that everything’s great all of the time that is difficult to penetrate, but we don’t really want to anyway, do we?
We all have our boundaries. We don’t want to be pushy or intrusive or getting too much up into other people’s business. It’s a sort of unspoken rule that you learn to live with in polite society. It seems to me that people tend to fall into one of two camps. 
First, there are those who cry wolf so many times about so many things that after awhile their cries for help become part of the white noise in everyday life and nobody really hears them anymore. 
Then, there are those who keep entirely to themselves. The ones who say a tight “fine” whenever they’re asked how they’re doing. We tend to believe them, even if there are subtle cues that everything in fact is not fine with them. It’s too much effort to dig. We might then have some responsibility or have to take some time to understand what is really going on. And after all, we’re really busy ourselves. It’s easier to accept their answer and be on our way.
Unlike those of us unable to push for answers to questions we’re not sure exist, Stephen Ministers are trained to reach out and touch us and ask the kind of questions that cause deep personal introspection. It can be wonderful to have someone there for you in an environment of openness and willingness to listen and ask questions, without judging or trying to fix something that may or may not be broken.
There are really few places one can go to unburden themselves over the small and large challenges that spring up in human existence. Whether you have lost a job, gotten a difficult diagnosis, are lonely, scared, or dealing with any of those experiences that make you feel like saying “fine” rather than delving into the truth with even the most well-meaning acquaintance, Stephen Ministers are here for you.