Once upon a time, a long long time ago, my eyes used to roam and scan a room for eligible bachelors, men without a round ring. One fine day, as I was pulling up to church for daily mass a Posrche wheeled in too. “Interesting”, I thought. As the driver got out, I thought, “very very, very interesting”. The driver was a handsome man, dressed in a stylish button up shirt semi-loosely hanging over his trendy jeans. “Oh my!”, I thought, “this is more than very very very interesting.” As usual, I played it cool, very very cool. I’m good at that. Naturally, I did not say anything to him. Why would I? If anything at all, I was even the more reserved. After all, I was there to pray. No distractions allowed. He on his part, remained in his world.
He was not a regular daily mass attendant but showed up fairly frequently. Each time I noticed him I was impressed that someone who had the external appearance of wealth and success was also spending time with the Lord during the week, and not just on Sundays. I did “happen” to notice that his ring finger was bare. When I spoke of him to my friend I referred to him as “That Porsche Guy”. I imagined his coming to church was to pray for or about some big upcoming business deal he was working on. This was a period in my life when I had so many work projects on my plate that just the thought of getting involved with someone felt heavy and burdensome. Thus distance was perfect and ideal. But I did enjoy seeing him at mass and imagining what the rest of his life was like. That was enough for me. Any more time, energy, and effort would have buried me.
And then one day, everything changed. The plot twisted in a way, that I bet you, Dear Reader, – and I’m not the betting kind – probably would never guess. It was something, that I never could have thought up myself. One day, he came came to church with three other people. This day he was wearing a wedding band and so was the beautiful woman who walked in with him. “Oh, I thought, he is married after all. I guess not everyone wears their band on a daily basis, I realized. Good thing I just kept the imaginary relationship to just imagination and sight.” But then, what I saw next made my Heart feel compassion, shame, humility, and tenderness toward the family, “That Porsche Guy’s” family. He and his wife had a beautiful daughter about age eight and a son who followed them in, in an electric wheel chair. It was evident by his mannerisms, face and hands that he had down syndrome. The son appeared to be in his early teens.
All through mass all I did was process my thoughts and feelings while sending the family compassionate energy. I thought about myself and observed myself and what my attitude had been toward him based on his outward presentation. Does anyone else out there do that – make a judgement call about a person based on how they look, what they are wearing, and the wheels they are driving? It did it not even dawn on me to scan the state of his Heart at the beginning. Had I done that I might have “seen” him differently. I would have gone from seeing him with my material eyes to that of the Heart vibe. Thus, here is where I began to judge and scold myself for being so “materialistically oriented”. I thought about what this non-experiential encounter had taught me about myself. This was shortly after my Heart had been awakened and I was working on seeing more with the eyes of my Heart. Clearly, I got a big red “F” on this assignment. More assignments and encounters were needed for the sharpening of my Heart Sight.
As the daily mass was carried on by the priest and congregants, my whole focus was on this family. Every time I glanced at the father, mother, daughter and son gathered there before the Lord, I could not even begin to fathom the joy, the love, and the daily struggles of every member. My Heart went out to them. I wished them strength for the journey and peace in their Hearts. I wished that an abundance of grace fill their path.
I wished that deep internal joy be an integral part of their daily lives. And now, about a decade later, I also thank them for their example of love in a family. I also am grateful for witnessing their togetherness and commitment to each other. Lastly, I learned much about myself based on my internal dialogue that was triggered by my initial sighting of him.
I realized that in my initial instantaneous assessment of him and the entirety of his being, I had reduced him down to an automobile breast plate. Um, does this qualify me as being superficial and materialistic? Two hands down, eyeball to eyeball honesty: YES! In writing this story, I thought more deeply about this topic: me and materialism. I realized that materialism is something that I both am attracted to and simultaneously repelled by. I like it, yet I also shun it because I live very simply, borderline asceticism. Clutter of any kind is draining to me. I realized that I have a very complicated relationship with wealth and material goods. I realized that I like nice things and enjoy the feeling of having and using something that is of value. I realized that when there is quality and integrity in a product it adds value and surety to my life. By surety I mean to say that quality in a product gives me peace of mind and the mind space to focus on other things, other than things.
It’s about finding that narrow path where one has the discipline to only have the things that one needs for peace, comfort, and ease in their life. On the flip side, it means saying “NO” to things that may be nice to have but would add undue stress and responsibility. It is about nourishing our lives with material things that add to our GDP – gross domestic (inner and outer) peace”, and not weigh it down to the point of them being burdensome. When one is at peace, one can be a person of great value to this planet.
It takes awareness, and self-observation in knowing what adds joy and value to our lives and what drains us of energy. It then takes practice, commitment, and discipline to remove or let go of the items that are distractions in our lives and that take away our joy and peace. But with Grace and humility toward the Holy Spirit’s Whisperings, anything is possible.
Lastly, we don’t even need to engage and encounter with each other to learn and grow from each other. Sometimes, just the presence of someone in a room can trigger a metanoia experience. Stay open, receptive, and responsive to the workings of the Holy Spirit in your thoughts, Heart, and life.
Abundant Grace, Humility, and Blessings, Irena As I Am 02/26/2018