I told someone I’d give up my life for them. And, I meant it.
I was so low, I was willing to forego this body and offer my spirit to someone, anyone who’d have a greater chance of gaining enlightenment than me. Give to someone who was nearing to what Kabbalists call the final “correction” of all of one’s egotistical desires.
I surprised myself. I offered to give my Life to a near perfect stranger who I had met just three days earlier. What is it about a stranger? Or more particularly, the kindness of strangers? And why are we comfortable in opening ourselves to them if we sense a kinship of sorts?
My life didn’t end, I’m happy to say. But, I felt it “turn around,” and become more centered as someone I hardly knew listened deeply to me. I sat cross-legged on a bench in a Stoney Creek Park, a municipal plot run by the Borough of Lansdale, some 20 miles outside of Philadelphia. I had stopped writing. Stopped group meditating. And, quit a support group of highly sensitive persons of whom I’ve come to cherish like a family. My feelings got battered, I tried to say. Once, twice and then three times in a row. By those closest to me. I didn’t need these “attractive distractions” to lead a good Life, I postulated. So, I cut ’em off to spite myself.
“You’re my only friend” I whispered to this person who found themselves becoming a confidante. I felt they entered my world as if by accident. Try to imagine how you’d feel, on the other end. How you’d react on hearing some aging veteran with PTSD (post traumatic stress) talk about giving his life up? You met him just 72 hours earlier. Think you’d have second thoughts on why you befriended this fellow?
I didn’t really mean it. The “only friend” part. Or the actual “ending” of this corporeal self. I’m a gregarious, social animal who enjoys good company. But, at that moment, I knew of no one else with whom I could really be myself. Not some role of a person I’ve played most of my life. Or who I think I’m best at portraying at a given moment. I was that over-achieving kid from a working class Philadelphia neighborhood of Brewerytown who desperately needed a buddy to cast no judgments, but simply let me “be.”
We walked the Labyrinth, and got to the center where I sat swinging my legs from a huge black and gray boulder. Labyrinths are spiritual places. They help persons open up and find things they normally keep hidden inside. This was the time of a New Moon. I felt an urge to give myself to this new-found friend. My “only” friend who expressed no shock or surprise at my comment. I decided to give of my self in other ways, starting right then. Give of my spirit, my essence if my new friend would accept it, with me asking nothing in return.
Just let me be.
Living happily ever after . . .
It’s the kindness of strangers that has saved lives countless times.
I’m glad you’re back.
I love labyrinths; there’s one at Norwich Cathedral I walk at least once a year; nothing special, just stones set in the grass of the cloister. But you go in and you come out again a little changed.
And don’t be discouraged. Set backs affect us all; just when we thought we were getting somewhere, like in a labyrinth, we find ourselves seeming to go backwards. Life is a labyrinth, and the way to the centre is certain: you just have to keep on going.
Were these your words or those from a sage of old with the wisdom of many lifetimes? You got a way with words that the Greek poet Homer could have used in writing another heroic Epic. I take my hat off, and bow humbly and deeply to the grandest lady of England I have ever known.
You sweet talker, you!
No, my own words, though I do confess to having read both the Odyssey and the Illiad a long time ago, and at least one book (book 9 of the Odyssey)in Greek.
Just learned one or two things, that’s all.
You’ll laugh, but last night I managed to convince myself I was dying. The farmer who owns the place where we keep our bees, some miles from our house(too built up for bees; the neighbours got worried) gave us a whole load of field mushrooms yesterday and hubby cooked them with garlic, onions and bacon for supper. Around 11 o’clock, having some stomach pain, I suddenly started to panic that something untoward had gotten mixed in. So there I was googling mushroom poisoning at around midnight last night, and even after I’d proven to myself that nothing I’d seen in our basket of ‘shrooms was nasty, I still got in a state about it.
However, as the Buddha is said to have died on ‘shroom poisoning, I guess I’d have been in good company.
Anyway, I’m not terribly grand, but thank you!
have a great Sunday!
You’ll always be grand in my eyes. Thank Creator you’ve been given just a scare, and nothing more serious.
Think I’ll keep mushrooms off the next pizza I order, in the name of Viv of whom we can all rejoice remains with us . . .
God save the Queen!