Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Cheesy Road From San Antonio

On the road from San Antonio, I had a lot of time to think. There is little that I find more meditative than a long stretch of open freeway with only my headlights and the moon to light it.

While I won't share all the thoughts that rambled through my brain (some were too personal for even I-don't-care-I-say-almost-anything-me), but I will share three of my reflections upon this past weekend. Warning: reflectiveness ahead. If you don't like reading my thoughts, stop reading.

My mom came to visit on Wednesday, so for the next few days I just kind of took her around my life. We went to a flag football game I was playing in, we went to a reception at my work; we went to the farmer's market and meat market I go to every Saturday with a friend of mine. We went to the movies, to the beach, ate DELICIOUS crabs, rode roller coasters, and I took her to Quaker Meeting. It was pleasant, peaceful. She did my dishes and cleaned my bathroom, and I cooked for her.

Sitting in Denny's on the way to San Antonio, I asked my mom a serious question and she made a joke. This upset me. Where a few years ago that would have started a fight, instead we had a conversation about how we aren't really sure how to talk to each other. This is hard. I want to be serious and she wants to make me laugh, or I want to be lighthearted and she doesn't get my jokes; but it goes deeper than that. We have gone about our lives in very different ways and we have correspondingly different systems for choosing a course of action in our everyday lives. We have similar values but entirely different logical systems.

Which we talked about. And agreed on. And at the end of the conversation, I made a joke, and she said something serious. I'm not saying we've fixed it or it's perfect, but it's pretty great to know that I can sit in a Denny's with my mom and talk openly about how we relate to each other and how to make it better. I think 'Agree to Disagree' had a pretty positive connotation that day.

That same Sunday morning, I felt led to speak in Meeting about compassion as the best way into forgiveness, and about anger being a really easy thing to latch onto instead of being compassionate. There are so many ways into anger -- blame, pride, shame, righteousness, resentment... and so few into compassion. Sometimes it's hard to remember that we're human and people make mistakes, though I find it easier to remember this about others than myself, which is a strange truth. Why do other people have more of a right to be human than I do? I don't know. But I think I behave like they do.

Sometimes I think that I am like swiss cheese, full of holes, and that I'm never going to stop bumbling around long enough to fill them. I mentioned this to a friend, who said she thinks I'm more like brie, and I said, "No, you're like brie, I'm like swiss cheese, and not even jarlsberg swiss cheese," and she said, "WHAT?! Not true!" or something like that. It's easier to believe that other people see me the way I see me, as swiss cheese, than it is for me to believe that you see me like I see you, as in, like brie. Maybe compassion is somewhere in the many varieties of fromage I sort through at the store on Saturday afternoons...

There was one more thought on the road:

There are a lot of people in my phone who I could call late at night to keep me awake as I drive. This is a nice thought. Thanks for that. And thanks to those two who I did call, because you picked up the phone and you were really amusing.

San Antonio is a beautiful place, full of missions and a really fantastic river, great food, expensive parking, and, as it turns out, wonderful storytellers. I can't wait to go back! Remember the ALAMO!