And the river flows…
July 12, 2012 § 6 Comments
But the truth feels most true when it knocks on your door.
When the knock came and I answered it, a neighbor was standing there. He needed twenty bucks to have enough to pay for a pain prescription.
The first thing I did was become self-protective, and put on that face that says, I’m sorry, but, no. “Money is tight this week,” I told him.
We run a careful budget, restricting ourselves to what we call “the weekly money.” When he knocked we were down to our last twenty with three more days to go.
But it was hard to miss the fact that what we had and what he needed were one and the same. A twenty-dollar bill. The twenty went home in his pocket.
When he was feeling better, he came back and mowed our lawn, and the lawn of what was my dad’s house but is now in use as a library for neighborhood kids. He saw a need he could fill and did so.
Our natural instinct is to hoard our money, our goods, our time.
To those who dwell on the limited nature of these resources, it seems that everyone is trying to nibble away at what they need to hold onto for their own use. But even those who jealously protect what they have can recognize a need that is real and has merit.
Seeing that need, we can still avert our eyes and rush on. But when we do, we wall ourselves away from the ebb and flow of life. We choose to go it alone.
Recently, badly busted by a car accident, I was amazed at the dinners that were delivered night after night by friends and neighbors. It took me a while to grow accustomed to having the river flow toward me. Giving is so much easier than receiving but we must do both.
I’m not talking now about quid pro quo; I do this for you and you repay the favor. I’m talking about the natural tendency of resources to flow toward need if we attune ourselves to those vacancies around us. When we sense an emptiness we fill it. We acknowledge our own emptiness and allow someone to do the same for us.
I tend to sugarcoat life, but I know it can be grindingly hard when what we lack is chronic. Not enough money. Poor health. Loneliness. Life can also knock us flat with its sudden brutality.
I am a well-trained worrier, a family trait, but lately I have begun to let that habit go. I now try to face difficult situations with my arms at my sides. I can’t fend life off, and railing at it makes no difference. When I do, I hear my own voice echoing back. In the place that behavior takes me I am always alone.
Pitting myself against what is requires an adversarial stance, a smoldering use of energy. And from all that I’ve seen it doesn’t work.
I now recognize that nothing is deserved or distributed fairly, that nothing is really owned, but just briefly held and then passed on. Nothing is static or guaranteed. Accepting this, I can now let out my breath.
This is a universe in constant flux. Remain quiet and you will notice that it flows toward vacancy and need.
Acknowledge you are a part of that flow and everything gets easier.