The other day, my brother told me that my mother wanted to ask me a question but was afraid to, so he was posing the question to me as an intermediary. As I read his email my mind began to say, “What does he mean by that?”….I started to take offence. And then I paused, and my next thought was, “I can see how she might be afraid. I’ve snapped at her in the past, ignored her questions, or dismissed them as silly. I can see how she might be afraid.”
I suddenly saw his statement, not necessarily as the whole Truth of my being, but as one person’s experience. My mind wanted to make up all sorts of reasons why he was wrong, how this couldn’t be true, wonder why my brother has said what he did with so little tact?”…but what happened next was wonderful. I laughed. I thought, “I can see how she might be afraid. In the future, I am going to be more open to her questions.”
But what to do now?
It was simple: I answered the question posed by my brother, to be delivered by him to my mother. The entire situation took about 30 seconds, and I didn’t give it another thought until I was sitting here this morning, asking myself what to write about today.
I’ve had a tendency to over-think things in my life. I used to go to parties and would leave feeling good, but on the way home I’d start dissecting conversations, looks, and gestures, by others. I could leave a situation feeling pretty good, but by the time I got home, and my mind had ripped the evening apart, looking for the hidden meanings in the words of others, or suddenly and with horror, remember my own comments (which I was then sure were inappropriate) I could be feeling lower than low. My life was a battle-ground that was fought mostly within the confines of my own mind.
I try not to look for trouble anymore. I try not to manufacture sad, scary, unhappy stories. If someone says, “It is wonderful to see you!” I try to believe them. If they say, “I’ve been afraid to talk to you.” I try to believe that too. …both are the truth of their experience, a part of their story, and they have a right to their feelings, and me to mine.
Life can be really simple, and such an adventure…if that’s the story that I choose to tell.
“I have had more trouble with D.L. Moody than with any other man who has crossed my path.” Dwight L. Moody