With Your Head, with Your Heart, in the Dark Nights
This is the story of a brilliant, shy man I know. We were joined by a mutual friend who is so dear to each of us. At the time that this story took place, the brilliant, shy man was someone I knew well, but had hardly met.
He stood 6 foot 6 inches tall and, in the English cottages and restaurants where I often saw him, he had to bend quite low to clear the doorways. I was traveling internationally to make a small publishing company happen. He was the CEO of a multi-million dollar international publishing giant. He would always make time to have a meal with me.
He won my heart one day after lunch as we walked to the car. I asked him, “Do you ever have trouble when you’re traveling in another country, deciding whether to go back to the hotel or to go out to dinner with the people who invite you?”
“Oh,” he said. “Those dark nights in a hotel room.”
“Wow!” I thought. “He’s the CEO of an International Publishing Mega-Company and he gets that way too.”
One second, I was walking next to that brilliant, tall person wondering why he took time out for me. Then he said that and I suddenly felt taller. He didn’t look at me, but I literally looked up at him in a way that was new.
You see, he didn’t have to, but he told me he knew.
As time went by, the International Publishing Mega-Company began to ask things of this shy, brilliant man that weren’t who he was. The stockholders asked him to do things that he found counter-intuitive. That took a toll. Then the result of that was that he had to break his word to the people who worked for him, and he had to do it again, and again.
Until finally it exhausted him completely. He was left dazed, a bit broken, and confused. When I went to England, he sent his regrets through our mutual friend. This time he could not see me. Our dear friend said that the tall brilliant man was seeing no one at all, except his own family and our dear friend.
I so wanted to give back what he gave me.
All I could do was send a message through our dear friend.
This is the message I asked our friend to relay,
Just because they talk the loudest, doesn’t make them right.
“Will you tell him, please? It’s important. I want him to know that I know that.”
That’s what I said to our dear friend, and because he is our dear friend, he did.
In time the tall, brilliant man was fine.
Now he is far better than ever.
It’s a gift to tell someone that you know . . . about the dark nights..
We can change the world — just like that.
–ME “Liz” Strauss