A woman who really tried my patience
I love to get up early in the morning. I do not say very early because that is a term that will mean different times according to one’s life situation. So when I get up at 2:30, it is not that early, since the wake-up bell goes off at 3:45. The reason I am saying that, is because, it also applies to getting to bed at a decent hour. So for me, 8 PM is more like midnight, I guess.
Last night I was finishing up some work in the retreat house office when I heard a tapping on the retreat house door, gently tapping, tapping, over and over again. I got up and there was a woman in her early sixties seeking entrance. I opened the door for her and she explained to me that she was left off here by a friend earlier that day, but she lost her friends card and did not have her phone number.
I really tried not to give her the “Lady you need to plan things better” look. Not sure I succeeded. I did feel my eye brow go up…it is always my left one, which seems to be something I can’t control in some situations. So she came in an sat down and we talked a bit. As we talked I had to monitor my wanting to box her in as ditzy, even though I knew this ‘feeling’ I had about her, was nonsense.
So we talked for about 20 minutes, and my eyebrow (proud to say) did not go up even once. Once I got to understand her life situation, I came to understand that because of what she is going through, she was simply tired, scattered, and she came out for the day to find some peace. Which she told me she did, she had a good day here. She used to come here as a child with her parents. In fact, I was here when she came for the last time in 1973, the year she graduated from high school.
She did find the card after an extensive search. You know how woman put, well, just about everything into their purses. She called her friend and then she went out to wait for her to arrive by our old bookstore.
As I was getting ready for bed, I went over how ‘harshly’ I judged her at first, because just like her I was tired and perhaps not my best self at the time. As I age I am becoming more aware of this tendency in me that I guess was hidden from my inner eye when younger. Or perhaps I am getting more sensitive to my own insensitivity.
She really is struggling, weary, and perhaps in a cyclical situation that will take years to work out. The more I talked to her, the more I liked her. A woman carrying a burden that when I did not see or understand and judged her harshly, it was automatic. I am not surprised by this in me, for there are also other aspects of my inner life that I am becoming more aware of….self-knowledge is a b****.
If I truly want to do the ‘loving thing’, then I have to let go of the freedom/compulsion to put others over and away from me, as if I was somehow superior to them. When I fact, I have lost all kinds of things, not planned well and have inconvenienced others, who were very kind to me, in spite of it. I can conveniently forget many things about my life, or play them down when it suits me.
I often wonder when I stand before the Lord and have my life review (per the NDE), I have no doubt I will have to face many instances when I was too hard on others, judging them, and perhaps not even knowing I have done so. Hopefully, this needed lesson will brand my heart and soul at a deeper level than in the past.
She was my teacher for a short time and I am glad that I met her. Little acts of kindness are important, just as little acts of discarding another leaves a mark as well. Both on the one receiving, as well as the one who dishes it out. In any case, she is coming back to make a retreat and we will talk some then.
Working in the retreat house is interesting, that is for sure.
Just a woman
When she came in she was a bother,
until I got a small glance into her soul,
her burden carried, yet she smiled,
and thankful for what little I did,
well, it was nothing at all,
How is it Lord my eyes can be so blind,
not to see your heart one with hers,
her smile, yours Jesus,
and her pain you carry as well.