Your comments to my blog are greatly appreciated! I read them and smile, with a wee bit of insight into your neighborly sense of humor that the rick-man and I greatly enjoy.I’ve had (and have) friends and acquaintances that are easily comfortable with sharing news of their children, grandchildren, work, hobbies, travels and the things of life that are considered polite conversation. Although I’m always glad to hear the “good news” they share, and always saddened to hear of any hard times that they are facing, I almost always feel a sense of loss over missed opportunities for personal relationship. And when I ask to know what is on their mind, or initiate my interest to hear what they think or feel about some topic of interest or current event, I often note a squirming on their part. I feel a deep sadness that is based on my own thirst for living water, but I quickly change the conversation to comments about the weather. It is never my intent to make others uncomfortable.
But what a great day when I listen to someone candidly share their beliefs, opinions, goals or passions. I am fascinated by the opportunity to glimpse WHO they are at that particular time in their lives. I listen with honest interest—whether I agree or disagree with their life views.
And what a terrible day when I personally experience another’s attempt to convince me to hold their own beliefs, opinions, goals or passions—or attempt to convict me of the wrongness of mine. I am frustrated that they pursue opportunity to change WHO I am and I listen with one thought in mind—closure and escape. I find it rather interesting to ponder the root commonality for the words conversation and conversion.When my head was without grey hair I was quite confident in a great deal more universal truths than I hold today. I thought I could easily separate right from wrong, good from bad, constructive from destructive. I don’t mean to imply that I don’t hold tightly to my own belief system—I’ve just uncovered that for MY life, dogma quickly creeps in if I don’t actively open myself to evolve my thoughts, beliefs and opinions as a path for personal growth. But this evolving is based more on my own pondering (with a good dose of wondering and wandering) and based much less on other’s “going out and making” a convert of me. Mother Nature openly shares her world view for me to ponder. When humans share their world view, with open debate rather than intended conversion, I am blessed with much to ponder.
And yet I can laugh at my own stilted views and opinions—and love when others do the same, with a spirit of gentleness. I am blessed to know a Martha in my life. She is older, has experienced much, and is a survivor. She has the most gentle of spirits and yet a depth of wisdom that I’ve rarely witnessed. If I were asked to name the wisest people in this world, Martha would be on my list. An example: Martha was sharing with me, at my request, a personal view she holds on a subject that is quite complicated in this world of today. I listened intently and then responded with: “Martha, you are so wise—I always learn so much when you share your views with me.” With a slight smile she replied: “That is because we tend to think alike.” She gave my arm a quick squeeze before walking away to a next life appointment. As she walked off I pondered the wit and wisdom of her response. Would I claim and proclaim her wisdom if she held values vastly different from mine? You be the judge. I already know the answer. It feels good when others encourage me to laugh at myself, with loving intent.And so YRN, I’ll look forward to a lively, constructive and laughter-filled conversation at our next sit down. I enjoyed our last discussion, and find our different life views as interesting as our common beliefs. But please remember, if good neighbors repeatedly ask to take you and the K out for dinner, a response of “That would be great! How about tomorrow evening?” just might go a long way to making those neighbors feel a part of your life. One just never knows the importance of accepting invitation as a way to making others feel valued.
Safe travels; keep commenting—and may all your days be birdy days.