Last week I called a friend of mine to vent about something stupid – to be honest, I can’t even remember what it was now (more on that later). My friend has been dealing with being unemployed for a while and was struggling to deal with what life in general is like while being out of work.
A year earlier, I had been in the exact same position. For the first month or two, whenever I talked to someone on the phone I would talk about how many interviews I had and all the great parts of life that came from having time on my hands by not working. During the next couple months the conversations turned to how many jobs I applied to, and how being unemployed like that has taught me to realize how much I can do in life for free. At some point though, I hit the wall. I began not wanting to answer my phone because the person on the other end was going to ask about how my job hunt is going, and how life is going. Being unemployed tended to become my life, and I no longer wanted to answer my phone because I knew whomever was calling had an agenda for the phone call and probably wouldn’t pick up on the cues I was giving, and then I would feel all the more awful for having nothing good going on in my life. That was what my friend was experiencing last week.
Knowing that this point might come, I told my friend early on in unemployment that I wouldn’t ask her about work or life whenever we talked. I would call without an agenda. It didn’t fully make sense to her at the time, but then last week it hit her. Calling without an agenda allows us to feel comfortable just being honest about who we are and how we are doing, both positive and negative. That’s when I realized that God is that friend to us, a friend without an agenda.
God is always there for us no matter what we have done. He always forgives us no matter what we may have done, and is always willing to listen to our prayers. He is there for us when we are at the highest of peaks, and at the lowest of lows. He keeps us company when we feel we are alone in the world, and is personified when we have people surrounding us that want nothing more than for us to feel their love.
Next time you go pick up the phone to call someone, try giving up the agenda you are carrying into that phone call. Be open to allowing the other person to share what they want. You may be surprised at how great you feel afterwards. When I was on the phone with my friend, instead of focusing on what I wanted to talk about only and not listening, I let our conversation go wherever God led it. Instead of still holding onto a little bit of frustration I had called to vent about, I found that I had a huge grin still from all the laughs we shared over memories from years ago I had forgotten all about. In retrospect, maybe God has a sense of humor and does in fact have an agenda…just not the agenda we expect. I pray that going forward you are able to open yourself up to being a friend without an agenda, and that God surprises you with great joy from your conversations.
Kyle Della Rocca is an XU Grad from 2005 who used to be involved in the retreats program as both a leader and participant. After his time as a Jesuit Volunteer Corps member, Kyle has bounced from coast to coast and will soon be returning to Philadelphia to work with disenfranchised adults in a job training and placement program. Though Kyle is returning to Pennsylvania, he was smart enough to get away from the unbearable winter of the East Coast this past year in order to live in the sunny state of California.