I’ve been thinking about these questions from last week’s post and Tara Brach’s invitation to be a receptive presence to another. I recalled a conversation I had that I really wanted to get out of. Someone was talking a lot, and I wasn’t interested in what they were saying. It takes effort to listen to that person sometimes.
I also remember two conversations in which I was the one who talked a lot about what my friends might not be interested in. As soon as this came to my awareness, I quickly apologized for talking too much. I didn’t want to be “that person.”
Then I saw it: two places where I need to stay. I need to stay with the person who requires effort to be with, and I need to risk being “that person.” If it’s good to stay present and listen to another, it’s good for others to stay present to me. As I write that, I feel myself tense up.
Now I see the places from which I need to flee: judgment and pride. I judge another as boring or irritating. I pride myself in being neither.
What if I let that go? What if it’s okay to be bored or irritated? What if I let those feelings be there and see what else emerges as I remain present to myself and to the other person?
Fred and I were camping with our grandkids on the weekend. By 8:30 it was dark and too early to go to bed, so I asked Hadrian if he wanted to go for a walk around the campground. I was pleased that he said yes, and then I realized why he agreed.
“In Minecraft . . . ,” he said, as we began. I know little about this video game, nor do I want to. We walk and he talks, and I can’t follow what he’s saying. But I love being with him. Maybe that’s how my friends feel about me too.
Be completely humble and gentle;
be patient, bearing with one another in love.
–Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
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I’ve been a vegan for six months now and finding places to eat out has been a challenge. I’m grateful for restaurants that serve a couple of things I can eat, but I love it when I can choose from anything on the menu. This week I tried out Virtuous Pie. They make their own plant-based cheese and their pizza is delicious. I also like the V-Cafe in New West and the Chickpea in Vancouver. Hadrian’s new favourite is Sun Bo Kong in East Van. I love their tag line: “Eat right–for the love of our animal friends and our beautiful planet.” I’d add: and for Hadrian’s children and grandchildren.