13 June 2007

Loose Ends

"Everyone is gifted" the speaker told us today. "Everyone."

"...everyone is an expert about something" says the poster over my desk.

" even the dull and the ignorant... have their story" we are reminded in Desiderata.

What do I do with this information? What does it ask of me?

A group of us went down to Frenchman Street after the awards dinner Monday night. The conversation turned round to cynicism; how the way "people" are inspires it or justifies it--their ignorance or blindness or stupidity or ....

Cynicism is where I end up if don't watch my step. Hence, the poster over my desk. Unlike some in the circle that night, I don't experience cynicism as a high chair where I perch self-righteously and wearily shake my head--or snarl. Cynicism is a short, slippery slope that quickly lands me in a pit where my skin and heart and mind are gnawed to shreds by prickly eels with long teeth.

I dare not go there. At least not alone. I can play, nervously laughing through a half sneer, with a friend. A couple minutes talking trash. But I'm scared and ashamed the whole time. I feel slimy and insincere. But mostly scared. Like, oh god what's happening to me?!

When I'm interacting with someone I judge (yes, that's what it is) to be dull or ignorant, I might be bored or restless. Or maybe impatient. Or, sometimes, embarrassed. If I find myself in a group that I judge to be mostly comprised of dull or ignorant people -- and especially if I am paying in dollars or time to be with them, I become angry.

But the question remains: even if I successfully detach from any of those "negative" feelings and begin chanting those opening ideas like mantra, and my mood and perspective shift--then what? Does Love ask anything more than tolerance of me? If so, what? And what does it look like?

1 comment:

  1. This is such a fantastic question! Can I just notice the judgment, forgive the judgment, and walk away from the situation that called it forth from me? Or, is there something for me to do? Is it my job to look for the hidden gifts, shine some light on them, lift them up? Is that just condescension?

    This resonates for me with a concept I struggle with - idiot compassion. I hate the idea that compassion is ever idiotic. Just yesterday the kids at church put on a little play called the Tiger and the Brahman where the Tiger pleads with the Brahman and promises not to eat him if only he will release him from his cage. There's another story like this about taking a scorpion across the river. And I remember that old song where the man sings, "You knew darn well that I was snake before you took me in!"

    Anyway, I know that I often struggle to know when I am being called to serve and when I am entertaining delusions concerning my own powers and fitness to serve.

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