I received a call last night that shocked me to my core. I won’t disclose the details of that call, but I will say that the caller was inserting herself into my private life uninvited. I was at a friend’s house having one last grown up “play date” before my daughter’s return. The caller, as far as I can tell, was a perfectly lovely elder who wanted to share her thoughts on the choices I was making in my life.
I sat on the phone stupefied, while trying to make the appropriate responses. The call was completely inappropriate and invasive. Did I mention that this woman was a stranger to me? After the call was over my friend said that I was too nice and that I handled it much better than she would have.
What went through my mind when I was on the phone was that I should try to put myself in this woman’s shoes. Spending time with the women of Porches (our short oral history documentary) has clearly given me a deeper and more respectful appreciation for my elders. While listening to her I tried to imagine where she was coming from – a culture where it is not unusual for community members to insert themselves into others lives to avoid perceived wrong doing, a strong religious background and having lived over 80 years in a turbulent world.
Putting myself in her shoes didn’t make receiving the call any less ridiculous, shocking and completely inappropriate, but I guess when your convictions are strong you have to go with your heart. I shifted into a place of respect and gratitude for the compassion and love she was sharing and I did my best to hear what she was saying with an open heart. Listening with an open heart, however, has nothing to do with giving in to her desires.
The purpose of the call could only have been to pull my heart-strings and manipulate me into taking actions that would benefit others. I’m good for some charitable giving, but in this case I had to think about what was right for me. In this situation I had to stop, and as a grown woman assess my life, my past relationships and what I am willing to accept. Some doors are closed with good reason.
It really wasn’t even a consideration. I appreciated her wishing me the best in life, but I get to be true to me and decide what is best for me. My current situation can be seen as challenging. The outside world will look on it as – I’m single with no serious prospects for a long-term relationship, under employed and fiscally challenged. My leadership and spirituality training teach me that the power of life and death are in the word and that what you focus on is what you attract into your life.
With that in mind I will claim the following – I have a wonderful life. One full of passion, abundance and love. I have an amazing man in my life who has an impeccable character, is strong, loving, generous and appreciates me for all that I am. My business is booming – I can choose the projects I work on and I am well compensated for my efforts. I breathe life and celebrate each moment. My family is happy, healthy and strong. We travel the world, improve our community and are able to bless those around us financially, spiritually and emotionally.
I have not heard the last of this mystery caller. She promised to call back. My goal will be to thank her for her kindness, listen with loving heart and kindly find a way to tell her that I choose loving me.