I just got home from a long weekend trip to visit friends I don’t often get to see. We had a great time. I enjoyed the break from my work/school routine, the Oregon winter, and got to see sun, thrilling desert and important people.
On the complicated and frustrating way home (travel can be such a pain in the ass), I realized that investing in friends and family is the most rewarding effort possible. Spending time with each other, even if it’s just watching television side by side, lets our spirits commune. A cup of coffee (or ice water, as the case may be) for an hour at the kitchen breakfast bar is more important than a thousand emails. I mean I know this. I’ve always known this.
But this trip, for some reason, turned my head around. None of us is getting any younger, and some time I’ll go to Arizona and find that I have one fewer friend to visit. That will be a sincerely bad day. But it will be much less horrible because of the trip I just had–the time I just invested–in wonderful friendships.
So I say this: If there’s someone you want to visit, get on with it. Time’s wasting. Your relationship is languishing. Forget the stock market and invest yourself in the most important, lasting, reality in the universe.
Filed under Aging, connections, family, Friends, girlfriends, Personalities, Possibilities, relationships, Spirituality, time, Travel
A friend of mine asked the other day, “What is forgiveness?”
I’m not sure I know the answer to that. The very next day, my brother asked essentially the same question. We’ve all been told to “forgive and forget” but the truth is, forgetting is impossible. We always remember, learn, and guard ourselves against subsequent pain from that particular angle.
If forgetting is impossible, is forgiving impossible as well?
Today I have the tools with which I can be rid of a resentment. Is that the same thing as forgiving?
Is understanding the one who has hurt us the key to forgiveness? If we were to look upon that person as a very, very old parent might, would we see the one as a mere child, trying to find its way through the difficult morass of relationships? Can we forgive the indiscretions of youth–our own or others’?
Or perhaps forgiving means merely to show mercy. We’re all capable of that, even if we can’t forget. Even if we do guard ourselves against subsequent pain.
I have committed more than my share of youthful (and not so youthful) indiscretions, for which I have been shown more mercy than I deserve. Have I been forgiven?
I don’t know.
There has been a little dust-up in a group I’m involved in, and in the middle of the night last night it occurred to me that I’m the cause of it all.
I don’t know if that’s true or not. I’m too close to the situation at the moment to see it clearly, but it is certainly a possibility. And so what should I do?
First, I am always the first one to take the blame when things go wrong, even if they have nothing to do with me. I think this is something that most writers have in common; we’re egoists with inferiority complexes.
The person who voiced hurt and anger over the situation may or may not be angry with me, but I’m soul-certain that I did no harm. So in truth, she’s responsible for her own anger. That is not something for me to tinker with.
My spiritual program tells me that what other people think of me is none of my business anyway. I am right with myself and right with my God and therefore I’m okay.
So what actions do I take?
Of course my initial reaction is to opt out of all subsequent discussion on the topic. But how does that serve the whole? Or her? Or me? It doesn’t. It perpetuates the ugliness. And yet, are we (am I) to walk on eggshells? No. That does not serve, either.
I think the best course of action is for me to take a back seat on this particular situation and let it play out. I’ll participate, but less so. I hope that the whole group isn’t intimidated into silence. But if it is… so be it.
Still… I can’t help but take it a little bit personally. It’s always personal, after all. Isn’t it?
It only makes sense that there are a limited number of personality “types” in the world. We live in an orderly universe, after all. Astrology would have us believe there are twelve. According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, there are sixteen. The Enneagram says there are nine.
Last weekend I took a class in the Myers-Briggs (I’m an INFJ) and in the Enneagram (I’m a 7), and was stunned to speechlessness at how accurate they both were in talking about me. I’m also a Taurus, and that profile fits like a glove, too, all of them different, yet surprisingly undeniable.
Some people are distressed when they discover that they conform to a certain type, others find comfort in it.
I like it.
I like seeing my strengths and weaknesses from the point of view of an impartial observer. I like seeing my husband’s natural traits spelled out for me in a book, and from now on, I’ll react differently to some of the things he does and says because I know those things are in his nature. I don’t try to change him, and we don’t fight, but I do my share of eye-rolling. That will stop now that I understand him better.
The Urantia Book says that the key to loving our neighbors is understanding them. I came a long way toward that this weekend, and had yet one more gut-level validation about the exquisite architecture of this magnificent universe in which we live.