Tonight’s stream of consciousness

We were never here. This never happened. There’s no proof now. All that remains is a few photos of a person I barely resemble these days. Where does the good in us go? When we lose that light, that spark that kept life exciting, what remains? And where do the parts that we really like disappear to? I think it gets to a point where we go crazy. We lose ourselves, and then realize that in our haste to find that next best thing, we forgot to lay a trail of crumbs to find our way back. But I guess the point is to never return to where we were before. We are supposed to grow and change, while gaining ground, even when it feels like a set back. This desperate loneliness feels so juvenile. The extreme emptiness and longing for god knows what, was a constant in my younger years. The years filled with wild mistakes and futile heartbreaks. So why does this tension, this push and pull, feel so comforting to me right now? I suppose it’s the idea that there may be someone or something out there that is going to come and save me; the idea that there is some state of happiness worth fighting for. I hate that I am fighting for my own happiness. I think this is the seed that has been growing in me all these years. I should be fighting for someone else. We all need someone to fight for us. We are all crossing our fingers and diving into the dark, hoping that something is going to save us; that someone is going to catch us as our hearts rise into our throats and we think we are about to plummet to our deaths. It’s at that moment we are desperate to feel that break in gravity when our fall is met by rescue. I want to be that for someone…and not worry about my own fall so much. I guess that’s the growth, that’s the good in me.

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Classy-fied.

Other than job hunting and jumping through hoops for school, I have been doing a lot of reading to pass the time until I get a job and begin my studies.  One of my favorite go-to’s, when I’m not reaching for the current novel, is the local classified ads.  They have this section for people looking for Pen Pals (sweet, right?)…from PRISON!  These postings don’t come without a disclaimer warning people that these are prison inmates and advising to keep some healthy boundaries, so to speak.  It is quite shocking to me that becoming a prison pen pal is so accessible and somewhat encouraged, and I can’t stop reading them.  One man referred to himself as “an angel that will warm your heart.” (I can pass his address and inmate number on to you if you are looking for such an angel.)

Yesterday, it dawned on me that I needed to actually start putting effort into making friends here, rather than burry my nose in a book (or classified ads).  I have never really been short on friends, and I do make new friends easy, but last night the idea seemed like it would require far too much work; I was overwhelmed with all the new changes to my life.  I decided to try my hand at a personal ad, wrote this, and decided that I am much better off making friends the traditional, face-to-face way.  My stats are simply not that impressive:

Single female, in her mid-twenties, looking for a friend.  I just moved to the Boise area from the California Bay Area.  Looking for someone to kick back with.  So far, my favorite past-times include, but are not limited to: watching Sex and the City DVD’s while consuming copious amounts of wine, salami, and cheese (despite my vegetarian beliefs), riding my bike to Fast Eddy’s down the road to pick up other vices including sour-gummy candies, writing blogs about my various paths to enlightenment, hanging with Ted (my cousins ever so needy, but very cuddly cat), obsessing over finding a job which may lead to the money I am desperately needing to pay for my out of state tuition at BSU, and lying awake at night, entertaining fantasies of where I will end up next.  I am very skilled at the following card games: Speed, Egyptian Rat Screw, and Jacks and Fives.  I dislike top 40’s radio stations, the over-use of high fives, and shopping.  I do very much like cooking, exploring my surroundings, outdoor adventures, and contemplating what -if’s, including the topics of time travel, winning the lottery (though I have never played), and body modifications (who hasn’t considered what a day as the opposite sex might entail?)  This is not an ad looking for a date, so if you are, you need not respond.  If you are interested in filling out a friend application, please respond so we can set up an appropriate time to meet at the local Moxi Java where I spend too much money on nasty coffee that I don’t need just so that I can use their free wireless internet-which makes “free” not so free after all.  Oh, and did I mention, I am an angel that will warm your heart?  (It was worth a shot.)

And now I am off to a much needed academic advising meeting followed by a much needed bike ride along the river with the one friend I have made…well the one friend that my cousin has been so generous to share with me.

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A Self Reality Check

As a child, one of my favorite movies was titled, “Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken.”  I’ve referred to that title, in jest, several times in my life to describe my own reckless heart.  The movie is set in the time of The Depression and is the story of a young girl who runs away from home to pursue a better life in Atlantic City as a “diving girl.”  “Diving girl” translates to a girl who rides on the back of a horse while it dives from a spectacular height into a pool of water below, in true Evel Knievel fashion. It’s not surprising that this stunt leaves her injured and blind for life, but this is an inspirational story, my friends.  She overcomes life’s obstacles because, like the title says, wild hearts can’t be broken. Containing all the dreams of a little girl in one movie (horses, running away from home, falling in love, beauty, and fame) obviously, this movie was a favorite amongst all my pre teen girlfriends.  I grew up in this!  I say that only because I find it a silly movie to reference while trying to describe something very real that I am experiencing in my own, adult life, right now.  The analogy just seemed fitting.  So, if you are a female born some time in the 80’s, you will completely understand what I am trying to say.

For the rest of you, bear with me…

One week ago today, I packed up everything I own (thankfully, it isn’t much) and moved 600 miles away from home, two days later gave up my California Driver’s License to become an Idaho resident, hoping to lower my tuition next year, so that I can commit at least two years of my life to an educational institution, in order to obtain a degree in the ever-popular, highly lucrative job field of creative writing. (Please, sense my sarcasm here.)  Is it any wonder that I had a major meltdown the day I walked out of the DMV holding my temporary Idaho Driver’s License?  I had wanted to run away for so long, but the dream in my head felt more romantic than this.  I have always thought with my heart and not fully with my mind about life decisions such as these, and for a long time I really liked that about myself.  I am a whimsical romantic who believes that everything good will work out if I just follow my heart, and following one’s heart has always been sound advice, right?  It’s in Hallmark cards, on the lips of our parents and friends; it’s the theme of most popular movies and novels that many of us fashion our lives after.   But what if a heart can have free reign for so long that it becomes wild and unruly, making it nearly impossible to clearly hear the thoughts of one’s sound mind?  Consider these quotes about the heart: “The heart is deceitful above all else.”  “The heart is slow to learn.”  And I can’t leave out, “The heart is a lonely hunter.”  These are all familiar sayings, but we forget the truth that lies behind the familiarity.  My heart has deceived me on a few occasions, and it’s clearly a repeat offender, desperately hunting down its prize despite all consequence.  I chalk it all up to experience and carry it in stride.  I have worn it as a badge of honor: to love with all my heart despite the unfortunate and painful outcome.  Should the heart be allowed to repeatedly hurt and disappoint itself?

This isn’t the first time I have run away to pursue a lofty dream.  I actually do this quite often, but somehow, my heart always leads me back home.  I can feel it tugging in my gut.  It pulls me toward the object of its affection.  In my mind I feel that I have made a wise decision to finally finish up my degree (10 years is way too much time spent on a Bachelor’s degree) but my heart can find ways to justify turning my back on this mission and running back into the arms of comfort and safety; to find my heart nuzzled in close to that which I ripped it from when I departed.  Signing loan papers, spending all my savings on fun things like parking permits, textbooks, and various school paraphernalia, and trying to peer forward into the future two years, knowing how dramatically time can change things, makes my heart tug all the more violently.  But I have to cut it off.  I have to redefine the ranks of my body.  I have to allow my mind to be the captain that it was created to be, and I have to teach my heart to trust my mind.

This move is a humbling process for me.  I have been so spoiled my whole life, growing up in sunny California, in the cultural mecca of the San Francisco Bay Area, constantly being supported by friends and family, as I let my heart run wild.  I’m not saying that I need to turn my heart off completely, but I think am going through a time of breaking my heart.  I don’t mean breaking in the way that a lover breaks a heart, but I mean it in the way that a person breaks a wild horse, makes it tame and obedient.   I’m teaching my heart to rest, to settle in, and to know that ultimately it will be satisfied.  Every traumatic experience or huge leap of faith teaches us more about ourselves.  In fact, I believe it enlightens our minds to better cater to our hearts.  I want to be good to myself and I don’t want to become cold and calloused, so I will learn to protect my heart and in doing so, protect myself and others from it.  I know that this means some pain is coming.  Breaking my own heart goes against all I have ever known, and who knows if it can even be done.  I am entering a season of disciplined romance.  I can’t deny the fantastical ideals that make up who I am, but I would like to learn how to balance myself and stay grounded.  This is my mission for this year: to be kind to myself and allow my heart, body, and mind appropriate and equivalent attention to evenly develop them all to their full potential.

Back to my cheesy movie reference we go…can wild hearts be broken after all?

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Long Car Rides and Hard Goodbyes

Every summer until I was fifteen, all six members of my immediate family piled into our Ford Windstar minivan and embarked on the maddeningly long journey to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Weiser, Idaho (population 5,343).   Across the Donner Pass, through the empty desert of Nevada, and tiny farm towns of Oregon, my siblings and I giggled, delirious with the excitement of seeing our grandparents and the adventures we would have along the creek that ran through their property.  At the same time, we also fought relentlessly due to the lack of personal space, boredom, and anger at being forced to take our turn in the “booger seat” (the last bench seat in the van which we lovingly wiped our boogers on).  When we would finally arrive at our destination, Grandma and Grandpa would be outside waiting for us, after having been alerted by Lily, Grandpa’s K-9 companion.  For the next two weeks we would explore how far the creek went, have mud fights with the rancher’s kids down the road, go on tractor rides with Grandpa, play dress up in my mom’s old clothes from high school, and get in exorbitant amounts of trouble for our antics.

It had been ten years since my last trip to Weiser, until last weekend, when my older sister, Jessica, and I loaded up her Honda Civic and hit the road.  Eleven hours of driving, 663 miles of open road, Jessica’s new iPod, loaded with exactly 79 songs, and my iPod, which was not fitting to Jessica’s superior musical tastes, left us with ample time to talk and reminisce about our childhood.  I also must mention that there was a strictly enforced no sleeping rule, with it’s roots founded by a traumatic experience involving Jessica napping while her friend took to the driving during a post high school graduation road trip.  (I don’t blame her for being a little nervous about it all, after hearing of how she awoke from her nap that day, spinning in circles down Highway 5, because the driver also decided to take a nap.)  New rules were voiced as I continued to break them…

Me:  “Jessica!  Look at that cute little donkey in that field over there!”

Jess: No pointing at things on the side of the road while I am driving!  Keep your observations to yourself.”

Approaching a sign for Jessup, Nevada…

Me:  “Jessup…”  Followed by a moment of deliberation and the final decision to gently push Jess’s head down while shouting, “Jess-down!”

Jess:  “No touching my while I am driving!”

Me:  “Man, my lips are so chapped.  I really need some chapstick.  I think it’s the air-conditioner.

Jess:  “Just shut up and put it on.”

I couldn’t sleep, make sudden movements, talk about the landscape, or touch her, but I was allowed to write notes for our eternally evolving, fantasy screenplay, and share funny stories.  It is amazing to me as I look back on our total 22 hours of driving and think, “That didn’t feel long at all.”  I haven’t laughed until I cried in a long time.  I was giggling like we did on those long drive years ago.  It must be something in the air on those long desert roads, or maybe it was just lack of sleep and desperation for entertainment within the strict boundaries I had to abide in.

I knew that this visit with Grandma and Grandpa would be different.  The path to the creek, which I now know is in reality an irrigation ditch for the local farmers, had long ago been grown over, the neighbor kids had, like us, turned into adults and moved away, the tractor had gone out of commission a long time ago, and my mom’s old clothes didn’t fit anymore.  Lily passed away years ago, and Grandma and Grandpa were stuck inside with Grandpa’s oxygen machine when we pulled up.  Instead of excited grandparents in the front yard, we found our frazzled mom who had flown in a day prior to spend time with her parents during Grandpa’s last days.  Jessica and I both braced ourselves as we reached the front door to their house because we knew just how much could change in ten years.

Despite her lack of mobility, Grandma looked and acted how I remembered her.  Only when I hugged her could I feel her frailness.  Grandpa, on the other hand, had changed.  He was thin and had tubes in his nose.  I have to stop there because it’s too hard to describe the metamorphoses of a gilded image that has been tarnished by time and age.  I had put off seeing them in recent years because I wanted my memory of them to stay the same.  I never wanted to see them old and sick, but I decided that avoiding a visit to preserve my memories was utterly selfish, and sitting with them in their living room made my heart soar with love and affection.  Suddenly, this desperation arose in me.  I had to find a way to hold on to all the memories of our grandparents and our childhood visits to their house.  My sister and I ran upstairs and basically raided the bedrooms, in search of artifacts to bring home with us.  I frantically selected fabrics from Grandma’s sewing stash, while Jessica located old drawings and books that we had read.  We both lost it in a fit of laughter when we stumbled upon a piece of paper that had long ago been lost and been reallocated as a legend in our minds.  It was the drawing I had done in the car during a trip to Weiser long ago.  Jessica and I had drawn pictures of what our future husbands would look like.  This was that picture.  There on a piece of white computer paper was my tan, muscular, mustached man, chopping wood.  The detail of chopping wood has long been a source of laughter for us.  When I meet a new potential guy my sister jokes, “Oh.  Well, does he chop wood?” (I’m purchasing a frame for this picture so I can hang it on my wall for a reference.)

I felt a little strange about taking these objects, weighted with sentiment, from their home.  The fabric should always be kept in Grandma’s fabric stash, dress up clothes in her closet, and memories of our childhood should litter the drawers of various desks and dressers.  It was as if I was admitting to my grandparents that I knew their secret; they are going to pass away soon and, in doing so, leave that house emptier than the day they moved in. During our raid, Grandpa went into his bedroom to take a nap, so we missed out on saying our goodbyes when we were leaving.  This may have been for the better.  One last hug to say hello is much easier than one last hug to say goodbye.  As far as hugging Grandma goodbye goes, I may have responded a bit inappropriately.  Getting around it not easy for her, so I bent down to hug her in her rocking chair, and suddenly I felt like I was coddling a baby.  She felt like a tiny and fragile casing that was hiding something so deep and special inside, and I had to be very gentle while showing my respect at the same time.  With this wave of emotion came this silly impulse to rub her head like you would a child.  As I reached my hand toward her thin gray hair, I watched in horror as if my hand were no longer a part of my body.  “Don’t pat her on the head like a baby!” my inner monologue screamed at my hand, and at the last second my hand made a quick recovery and caressed the back of her head, in the way that I think is probably ok to hug old people.  And then we were off.

I’m moving up to Idaho next month to go to school at Boise State (Woo!  Broncos!) and I’m pretty sure I will be seeing my grandma frequently once I get there.  It was just eerie not saying goodbye to my grandpa.  I suppose the relationship I had with him in the past consisted of few words, so why should so many words be shared now?  Sometimes words fall short of how we feel anyway.  I have my treasures, and I have my stories, and the more I share of these things, the more brilliant and alive the legacy of these two people lives will be.  So, let the story telling begin…

 

(Much love to Grandma and Grandpa Mac.)

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I feel like a big black hole right now.  I keep sucking things in like an insatiable beast and then it all gets lost.  I want more and more of everything, but I wont do a thing with it once I receive what I am after.  This emotional gluttony is leaving me exhausted and sick.  I feel like I’m constantly mulling over so many unanswered questions, but if someone could spy on my inner monologue all they would hear is static…I have deciphered nothing.

I’m faking it.  I’m afraid to face the white noise in my head and try to make out certain syllables and phrases because then I will be held responsible, then I will be called to action.  I know I am refusing to respond because I am waiting.  I am waiting for whatever is next.  I know that changing my physical location changes little about myself, but I don’t want to commit to anything and then move away.  So I’m stuck in this purgatory where I make myself seem busy and keep my time occupied, but I’m really just twiddling my thumbs.

I’ve cut so many ties and burned some bridges, and now I find myself alone with myself.  I stared into the mirror tonight.  I mean I looked straight into my eyes and imagined that I was looking at a whole other person until it really felt like it was a stranger I was seeing.  (You should try it sometime).  It just reminded me that I know myself a certain way, and everyone else knows me in a completely different way.  I need to see myself in the eyes of others from time to time.

I had a conversation with a good friend this morning that was very relevant to this idea.  I expressed to him my desperation for truth and meaning in life, and how afraid I am that I am nowhere near finding any significant answers.  He heard me out and we argued back and forth our ideas about faith, God, community, and such, when finally he held up a mirror to my face.  Except it wasn’t the mirror that I often scrutinize myself in.  It was a mirror that reflected what he saw in me.  It rendered me speechless.  I couldn’t argue what he saw and had to accept it.

We need that.  We need each other.  Because if you stare into the mirror long enough, you’ll freak yourself out.  We need people around us, who see us when we aren’t conscious of ourselves, to reveal to us who we really are.  As much as I try to isolate myself and censor the parts of me that I think people wont like, my true self gets seen, and it has to be this way.  We can’t hide away until we figure things out.  The world needs us.  We need each other.

I know very little, but I know that relationships and simple daily interaction with friends and strangers alike, is the most important investment I will ever make.  So, what do I do in the meantime?  When I know my life is about to change courses and I am lost in the waiting?  I will commit myself to knowing the people around me, and allowing them to really know me.

We each are a gift to the world.  We must do what it takes to find our own personal happiness so that we can bring joy into the lives of those around us, and we can’t hide away.  I used to think that I was protecting people by hiding out when I was feeling gloomy, but I now believe that exposing our true selves as often as possible and being real with one another is the only way that we will escape ourselves and enter into the world that is made up of so many relationships.   This kind of relationship that I speak of takes immense amounts of energy, patience, and time to be nurtured and grow.

It’s a scary commitment to make, but I’m not doing anything else, so here’s to diving in…

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For The Time Being…

I’ve been silent for a while now.  Mostly because I hold fast to the wise advise of our mothers: “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  I’m not sure how it started or when it began, but I have felt completely engulfed in pessimism about my life and the future of the world.  Yes, I am dramatic, and yes, I choose to carry the burdens of the world on my shoulders from time to time, but that in no way takes away from the reality and the weight of all that I feel.  It’s as if a dark blanket is covering my face and I can’t see anything but darkness, and the continued breathing of my own recycled air is making me sick.  I want to break free and connect to something real, but I have isolated myself.  I have been infected with a disease that I don’t want to spread to my joy-filled friends and companions.  This disease has messed with my mind so much that I hide behind it.  I say, “I’m depressed.”  “I can never view the world the same as I did when I was naïve and happy,” and I crawl back to bed, or I go through the motions of what each day requires of me.

I blame it on my disappointment in myself:  I never finished college.  I’m a quitter.  Ten years ago, I thought I would be somewhere totally different in life.  I said goodbye to this town to embark on a great adventure and now I am here, only a few months later.  The color has been leached from the pages my life.  I stare at the black and white world that surrounds me and I see no justice, I see no hope, and I see no future.  Religion has taught me to hold on for the world to come, but what am I supposed to do in the meantime?  If my hope is only for the future, then take me away now.  I don’t want to affiliate myself with any group that seems to have the answers because I know one thing:

No one has any clue.

Don’t ask, “If you were to die today, do you know where you are going?”  How absurd is that?  Does anyone really know?  And this only leads me back into the temporary warmth and shelter of that dark blanket that I have been wrapped in for the time being.  I don’t know the answers, and all the options out there terrify me, while the reality I see from day to day is breaking my heart:  Young, talented, sweet-hearted kids addicted to man-made substances that are killing them; beautiful women objectified and exploited because it’s the only way they know how to get by and pay the bills; parents asking themselves, “What did I do wrong?  I gave my kids the world-I would die for them, yet they refuse to live up to their potential.”  Intelligent minds, people who could change the world, are working in coffee shops for minimum wage, scraping by, while a spray tanned girl with a hideous signature hairdo and a party hard lifestyle, lives in luxury, being controlled by the insatiable appetite that comes with excess. Kids are having babies they don’t want, while men and women who would make wonderful parents lay awake at night and wonder why they can’t get pregnant.  And this is my family…these are my friends…the people that I would die for.  How do I sit back and watch this happen???

“Trust in God.”

I’m trying to, but the church makes it so hard sometimes.  The religion I grew up with doesn’t fit anymore.  I keep trying it on, just to make sure, and it gets more and more constricting with time.  Is it me, or was my Faith just not big enough?  This isn’t meant to be a rant against religion, and so I must stop there.  The point of writing this was to sort out and grasp the sense of hope that just washed over me.

I’m currently reading Rob Bell’s book, “Love Wins.”  I have been avoiding Christian literature for some time now, but this book enticed me simply because it has become a controversy for some who are, perhaps, misunderstanding the message of it in regards to heaven…and on a more touchy note with myself and many others, hell.  I’m not done with the book yet, so no book review here, but a simple reminder about what I want my time here on Earth to look like.  I don’t know what happens when I die, but what if I lived my life as if I were creating the “heaven” that people dream about?  What if I spent my efforts, time, money, creativity making a place where peace rules, where drugs don’t exist, where people see themselves, and one another, as the beautiful creation we truly are?

If you believe that you’re going to leave and evacuate to somewhere else, then why do anything about this world?  A proper view of heaven leads not to escape from the world, but to full engagement with it, all with the anticipation of a coming day when things are on earth as they currently are in heaven.

                                                                       –Rob Bell

 This kind of life is about so much more than spiritual mumbo-jumbo.  It’s about now.  It’s about working hard to fight world hunger.  It’s about sustainable living.  It’s about providing healthcare for anyone who needs it.  It’s about love…really, truly taking care of one another’s needs, not just praying for their souls and hoping that they will someday change their ways and see things your way.  We have to sit with our friends who are suffering and say, “Yes.  This is shitty.  I am so sorry, and I will go through this with you.”

“Love Wins.”

I used to believe this, and that was the root of my joy and inner peace.  And now, it’s like a distant memory that I know can free me from my current cynicism.  Love will teach me to accept myself and free me to do the good in this world that I was created to do.  It will allow me to stand in awe of God’s creation when I look upon the face of a friend or stranger.  Love will free me from the dark cocoon I have clothed myself in, and it will extend beyond myself.  The weight of the world is not on my shoulders.  It’s a collective effort.  No one can argue against the fact that we are called to love.  Whatever one’s spiritual beliefs are, no one can say that taking care of the Earth, living responsibly, and enjoying the fruits of these noble efforts are not the best things we can do while we are here.  (Think about where our money goes, where our food comes from, how much trash we produce, and what kind of mental garbage we fill our minds with.)

So, that’s my faith.  That’s what I believe, and that is what will get me out of bed tomorrow morning.  I have the power to create and also the power to consume and destroy.  With these privileges, I hope to find solace in acting accordingly and bringing us one step closer to “the world to come.”

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Missteps

Commercial Drive is no East Hastings, but there are still quite a few people begging for money on this street, so many that I could never give money to them all, seeing as I never have more than twenty dollars on me.  I walk by the same people everyday.  I have become familiar with their faces, though I try hard to avoid eye contact with them.  It feels inhumane to deny them help, but what is a dollar or two today really going to do for them in the long run?  That’s usually my justification anyway.  I guess if I really cared I could stop and talk to them, at least make friends since we see each other frequently, but no, that would take too much time, and I am rushing off to some lunch date with a friend.

This afternoon, I was eating lunch on an empty patio, outside my favorite vegan restaurant, and I was approached by woman who was asking for money.  I felt her walk up and so I turned my head to look.  Standing there was a woman in shabby clothing, missing her front teeth, telling me that she had just woken up and that she was starving.  The fact of the matter was that her statement about being starving wasn’t flippant, as it is when I use it after having skipped a meal, it was true.  The ironic thing was that I had just sat down to a full plate of food.  Instantly I thought to myself, “Well, you have to give her your food.”  But she asked if I had a couple of bucks that I could give her, or if I would just buy her a slice of pizza.  I don’t know what it was, maybe it was just her direct approach, but something went off inside me.  I freaked out, and in my fear I said, “I’m sorry.  I don’t have any money,” and we locked eyes for a moment, and then she walked inside the restaurant.

Then, it was as if a rooster had crowed for the third time, and I was washed in shame and remorse.  “Why did I turn her away?  When she walks back out I’ll apologize for my reaction and offer to buy her some food,” I told myself, but the weird thing was that I never saw her walk back out of the restaurant.  I sat there, eating my lunch, which I could hardly enjoy, feeling like the scum of the earth.  I couldn’t shake it.  I kept thinking about it over and over, and I realized that I talk a lot about my ideals, but I fail to practice them quite often.  I don’t think that I am the only person who would have turned her away, but I want to be the person who would have known exactly how to respond to that situation.  Instead, I was afraid of being uncomfortable.

In addition to my selfishness, it was my human aversion to weakness and fear of suffering that made me just wish she would go away.  I was almost offended that she would ask me to acknowledge her need, in fact, that she demanded I acknowledge her.  I wanted to just brush her off quietly like I do the people sitting on the street, but she engaged me, and once I had told her “no” she looked me in my eyes, and I saw her humanity.  I saw her desperation, I saw her brokenness, I saw her disappointment in me, and then it was finished, she walked away.

The most ironic detail of this interaction is that I have been reading a book that deals with our humanity and how we connect with the less fortunate, for the past two weeks.  Consider this excerpt (Lazarus is the name of a crippled beggar):

 I suspect that we exclude Lazarus because we are frightened that our hearts will be touched if we enter into a relationship with him.  If we listen to his story and hear his cry of pain we will discover that he is a human being.  We might be touched by his broken heart and by his misfortunes.  […]  We might want to do something to help him, to alleviate his pain, and where will that lead us?  As we enter into dialogue with a beggar, we risk entering into an adventure.  Because Lazarus needs not only money but also a place to stay, maybe medical treatment, maybe work, and even more, he needs friendship…

 I am beginning to discover how fear is a terrible motivating force in all our lives.  We are frightened of those who are different.  We are frightened of failure and of rejection.  […] Fear is at the root of all forms of exclusion.

-Jean Vanier (Becoming Human)

I suppose this was an experience that only reinforces what I am trying to learn.  I wish I could go back, allow myself some discomfort, allow “my” time to be interrupted, and buy that lady lunch, maybe even ask her to join me at my table.  Seeing as I can’t go back, I only hope that I will be offered the same opportunity to connect and welcome the discomfort in the future.  After all, this whole concept of “becoming human” involves long process.  I hope I get better at it…

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