There is an amazing opportunity. Metaphorically, it is a unique business opportunity to climb Mount Everest. The cynic will argue that it is mission impossible. Deadlines are too short, expectations too high, and the gaps to be solved between now and then far too great for anyone to accomplish. The opportunist counters with the argument of unique opportunities; windows where one can contribute as significantly as this one are few and far between. Strictly speaking, most do not see even one in their lifetime!
It would be interesting to explore the potential correlation between one’s personality and profile and where one spends one’s free time. If not where, then what one is doing.
One would need to be willing to look beyond the obvious. Spending time with friends, transcends location and type of venue. Hiding is expressed by many different forms of distance –being in point a versus point b, creating space between two individuals, or dramatically reducing the conversation and communication between two sharing the same space.
There is a triptych painted by a friend that hangs in my study. As I listen to the comments and reactions of those that view the paintings, I realize how personal art can and is to every individual. With each reaction, I am introduced to a slightly different way of seeing and understanding life. In the range of emotions and responses, with each reaction one is given a view of the different frameworks or lens through which members of the larger family process what is observed.
It is helpful to separate the observation and conclusion from the lens itself. I am reminded that there is not right or wrong way to see life. One sees how one sees. If one wants to understand and support the other, it is helpful to look at life through the lens of the Other.
Words, even images are powerful. Seeing something in person, opening one’s self to the collection of all the senses that make up a memory, is so much more! When you experience something first hand, close and personal, the words and images take on more than one could have ever imagined.
Recently a friend reached out with an embrace, a word, and a request. The combination was the perfect answer to darkness I was wrestling with. It was as if he had heard and answered psalmist call; “Hallelujah! You who serve God, praise God! Just to speak his name is praise!” (Psalm 113.1)
There are several friends that seem to carry multiple personalities with them. At any given time, depending on setting, who else is there, and time of day, you are never sure “who” is going to be present! Recently I found myself in a debate with a good friend where I did not recognize who he was in the conversation. As our discussion slowly moved from a collegial discussion among long term friends with shared values and viewpoints to an adversarial debate with no know values in common, I found myself increasingly mystified.
The frustration was building within. His face was morphing into a darker and darker shade of red. The body language quickly changed from being relaxed to chiseled features shaped by clinched muscles out of control. As things went downhill, I could see frustration changing into a range of ugly emotions. Even so, paraphrasing what came next still caught me by surprise.
“Make orphans of his children, dress his wife in widow’s weeds.” (Psalm 109.9)
I thought I understood his anger and frustration. I empathize with his need for retribution and aggressive action. Fairness and justice said he should not be experiencing what he was experiencing. I would love to say that none of it was real but it was all too real, especially in his life.
As I caught up with a friend after a long absence, I was recently asked for an updated self-assessment of recent personal history.
“How have you changed in the past year or two?”
I paused, reflecting on my journey and how the ups and downs had impacted my views and thoughts on life. There were several points that stood out. As I answered his questions he focused his follow-ups on one of my responses.
“In time of crisis or trouble, in contrast to my old thinking of ‘how do I solve this,’ I find myself thinking ‘who do I call for advice or help.’”
As I consider the potential answers to a conundrum, I am struck by the way my analysis has paralyzed my ability to act. I am at a turning point. I can see history in my mirrors, distracting me from the moment at hand. As I look to the future, I see a blank wall. There is a left choice as well as a right; I must choose. I naturally insist on knowing where I am going. I think it is a destination, so I struggle on, trying to guess my way through the haze of possibility and imagination.
In my uncertainty, I remember that I am sailing. I am at a turning point. Given the winds, currents, and darkness, I realize that I need to set a course, take a step, and have faith in the truth. As I reset my tasks at hand, I find myself doing the following.
Riding a motorcycle has an interesting advantage over the traditional experience from a car. Frequently you are sitting at a stop line right next to a driver’s door. While there is, at least on paper, barriers between you and the driver that protect each other’s personal space, in reality one cannot help but notice the details of the driver, his or her mode as told by their face and appearance, and at times the way that they are texting or emailing while the light remains red.
As I think of the experiences over the past week, I find myself reflecting on the following conclusions.
I could hear him coming. As I reached the top of the stairs at the gym, the young fit man fit the voice. Trim, tight, and on the mark. He was not humming, he was singing! While the volume was at a personal level, there was no question that anyone within reach could hear the song. At first it was strange, approaching weird. As I got closer I realized it was fantastic. I am not sure he realized he was singing or that he was in a public place. I know in his heart he had no choice. As I passed it was as if I was infused with hope, gifted with a sense of possibilities, and invited to celebrate.