The Empty Chair


“The Empty Chair” by Dena Lowery, available at

I am still struggling with everything going on in our world, even more-so than usual. There are now protestors protesting protests, and every city looks like a scene straight out of the 1994 Jeremy Piven movie “PCU”, I am just still waiting for the comedy relief.

I am pulling further and further away from social media because I just can’t handle all of the attacks and hatred and judgement and banter. I am not choosing ignorance – I read the paper, listen to the news, and have meaningful conversations with people around me – but I am choosing to step back from all of the chaotic banter that is going on online. I would rather have meaningful conversations, in person, with people who hold different views and opinions, as well as those who share opinions that are similar to mine.

Rather than scroll through endless social-media posts about the latest complaints or praises or whatever it may be, I find myself wanting to fill the empty chair that is in my head and in my heart right now. This empty chair is for every person who I find to be obnoxious or annoying or ridiculous in their rantings. This empty chair is for the people I don’t understand, but I want to understand. This empty chair is for the people with whom I do agree, but I don’t understand their actions. This empty chair is for everyone who is screaming for attention, but whispering that they are scared of what will or will not happen in the not-so-distant future.

I am sure I would have questions for the person or group who would be willing to sit in this empty chair, but I mostly want to listen. I just want to hear where people are coming from, what they want, what they need, and what they are hoping for when they take action. I want to listen. I NEED to listen. I can’t do anymore talking. It does no good, and I am not sure there is much left to say anyway.

I can’t force anyone to sit in this chair, and I am not sure anyone want do so for that matter. But it’s there, and when I do read and watch and hear, the challenge I am making to myself is to listen; to listen without judgement, shame, or pretense. I want to listen, and to learn.



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