Friday, August 22, 2008

Humbling Moments

Too many blogless days have passed. I finally have a moment alone and I’m seizing it. I talked a lot about Hello Love at a wedding I attended last night. It was good to be sharing the experiment and good to have people respond so favorably.

Something happened yesterday that I’ve been wanting to address. I found a long lost friend on Facebook. He was a dear friend in the summers of 1983 and 1984. We did Shakespeare together at Interlochen Arts Camp. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in at least 15 years. I am so happy to reconnect!

I was catching him up on other Interlochen alumni and much to my embarrassment found myself writing the most simplistic, judgmental stuff. “She’s moved to Idaho and has become hugely religious. She seems happy.” “He’s a Jehovah’s Witness and his wife doesn’t like me and ever since I mentioned astrology, he hasn’t written me back.”

After I hit send, something just felt off. I was communicating what I knew. But it was nothing but reductionist gossip. It was separating and quietly judging. And I thought, “here I am doing the Hello Love Experiment. What is wrong with me?”

The wedding I attended last night was a mixed faith wedding. The bride is Jewish and is from Israel and the groom is originally from Virginia and his family is Christian. This is not unusual. But what did seem unusual was the complete lack of tension. It was a beautiful blending and honoring of family traditions. It was a beautiful honoring of the members of each family. There were no reservations. There were open hearts and minds. It was lovely to be there.

I know I am an open-hearted, open-minded, compassionate human being. But I also catch myself reducing or minimizing another person’s choice of faith when I don't completely understand the choice or when I feel the choice is somehow limiting.

When my friend wrote me back he said,”I guess matters of marriage and faith can’t be argued with too much.” He focused on all the positive info I had given and kindly ignored my oversimplifications and sensationalizing. I was grateful and humbled.

I guess it’s just a good reminder for Hello Love. Part of Hello Love is greeting a person with love. And part of it is LISTENING to how that love is received. And when we genuinely offer love, it opens something in another human being and what is shared from that offering must be handled with respect and care and an attempt to understand even the most outrageously different points of view. So, ANY conversation where another person is sharing something meaningful in their lives is a conversation that must be honored and held with sensitivity and understanding.

A good wake up call for me. It’s too easy to categorize people. It’s too easy to be dismissive. I want to listen and communicate in ever more compassionate ways.

1 comment:

HAB said...

Thanks for these thoughts Heidi. You're spot on, as usual. Much love, H