Ever noticed how we are being invited to span vast differences in “realities”?
Case in point, yesterday, a typical day for me. Early morning, walked with puppy Shadow (twice: on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I also walk around the block with my neighbor and friend Georgia, who is recovering her physical health. Long story). Arrived home in time to greet Adrian Heil, who took down the dying tree in the front yard, showed us his way of pruning trees, and tells me that the tall cedar that gives partial privacy to my front porch is the “only native pine in Indiana”! I’ve worked with Adrian all these years. So good to have long relationships with locals in the “work force.” Then I called World Wide Auto, also with whom I’ve had a long relationship, to see when my car, which had to be towed there two days earlier and needed a new battery, would be done. Later that day. Okay. Bantered about on the phone for a few minutes with the technician before doing a couple of blog posts and then concentrated for awhile on logistics for my upcoming five-week road trip.
Mid-afternoon, World Wide Auto sent a car to pick me up. Talked with Craig, also the driver last time I got picked up. We discussed two emerging phrases that I have noticed: “back in the day,” and “that being said.” Craig has also noticed this new phraseology, says he remembers his grandmother saying “back in the day.” I loved that. Remarked, “it does sound old-fashioned.” The other phrase, “that being said,” seems to be gradually replacing “however,” or “but,” to note contrast. Why I’ve been picking up on these changes in the vernacular, I have no idea. But it’s nice to talk with another curious soul while sitting in stalled traffic.
Craig had also noticed all the milkweed in the front yard. Exclaimed how happy he was to see it for the Monarch butterflies, and pointed to the Monarch caterpillar on one of them just a foot from his side of the car.
Then came the most meaningful encounter with a relative stranger of the day: a trip to a bank, where I have a seldom used credit line. There had been an insurance snafu, long story, not worth going into; suffice it to say that I have been to that bank three times regarding this issue, always talking with the same loan officer, and after we’re done we always think the problem’s been solved. But I had just the day before received notice that the insurance company had charged me $400. Say wha?
So there I was, back at the bank, knowing that whatever I am doing with “stuff” in the world, it’s always an excuse for relationships.
I always know this. I don’t always pay close attention. This time I did. On this occasion, I really paid attention to the fact that I had noticed over the past several months that this loan officer’s appearance has radically changed. I’d even fleetingly wondered if he wasn’t the same person as before! And yet, the “essence” was there, despite the changed body. So I would shrug off my wondering and go about my day.
This time, as once again he was undergoing the endless transfers on the phone from department to department of said errant insurance company, I asked him if he had lost weight. “80 pounds,” he replied. “Intentionally?” I ask. “I’d like to think so.”
That got us going, soul to soul. He had cancer, in his tonsils, has undergone ten months of chemo and radiation, has just been pronounced “cancer-free.” As I listened to him talk about how he hasn’t missed a day of work, on how he thinks work kept him alive despite his pain and exhaustion, I felt the compassion of his co-workers in the bank, how he had been emotionally supported by the long-standing staff inside this type of institution that we typically think of as heartless and cold.
Well, institutions may be heartless and cold. But the people in them may not be. In fact, if we but find a way, we can encounter the soul of every single person who “works” anywhere, inside seemingly fixed walls — and meanwhile invisibly contributing to the field of love that holds us all.
As I left the bank yesterday, once again, I had been changed. Changed by the encounter with a truly human being. Yes, my “insurance issues” had brought me in, and, that being said, it was merely an excuse for relationship, the kind of relationships people used to have, back in the day.
Lest I sound sentimental, let me also include in this post something that happened this morning, for stark contrast during this volatile, contradictory, emergent period of his-story that we humans are pushing tumultuously on through. The span we must stretch ourselves to encompass.
Early this morning I talk with a man who works as a clerk in a local library helping people find information. Yesterday a woman came to his desk and asked to see photos of mocking satires of Trump and Clinton. Plenty of those! So they looked through some, and she chose one. “You know what I’m going to do with this?” She asked him. “I’m going to blow it up into a poster and use it for target practice.” I asked him what she looked like. Without mentioning specifics, he just said he was surprised: I presume he meant that she looked “normal,” not “radical.”
Yep! Here we are, late August 2016. On the one hand, the gloves are off for “polite society;” and, on the other hand, that being said, just like back in the day, we can uncover continuous opportunities to slow down and penetrate to the spacious vastness of BEING, no matter what we are “doing”; in fact, we can recognize that whatever we are doing (with or to or for “stuff” of some kind, usually) is actually an excuse to bring us into relationship, soul to soul, with the vulnerable beating hearts of other human beings.