One of the gifts of this particular visit to Mom’s house is the nightly walks Monkey and I have been taking. She had been in the habit, and I gladly fell into that with her when we got here.
As we’ve walked, we’ve spoken of many things. She’s shared stories and insights of her life and thinking that I had not heard before, and she’s asked me about my life and history in such a loving, open-hearted way.
She loves to hear stories of when I was younger and her age, and about Buds and me, which of course I love to discuss. And on one particular walk, she reminded me of a story I hadn’t thought of in a very long time.
I was trying to reassure her that even if you can’t find the exact right words to share what you mean, people are generally so forgiving and generous of spirit if they know your heart is mostly in the right place.
A very long time ago, when I was a sophomore in college, I was in a chemistry class in a large lecture hall with 50-75 other students. I sat in the same seat each day, on the aisle. I sat on the aisle because the professor in this class was blind and inevitably he’d put the overhead projector sheet on the overhead projector a little off kilter, so I’d pad up quietly and adjust it.
For the youngsters in the room, this is an overhead projector:
A young man sat behind me in this class, and I hadn’t really noticed him until one day he slipped a note written on torn notebook paper into the crook of my arm.
“Do you want to study together?”
I assumed he wanted to study with me because he assumed I was smart since I ran up to adjust the overhead projector sheets; that must mean I was taking notes, which is what smart people do.
Of course I was glad to study with him and our friendship continues to this day. Buuutttt, it only continues to this day because of his generous, kind, overly wonderful heart. Because, as most of you probably guessed, he didn’t just want to study. He was interested in my heart, not just my brain. When I finally realized this, and we had to have “the talk,” I bungled it so badly that it may be written up in psychology books under “How Not To Have A Difficult Conversation.” I still cringe when I think about it. It. Was. Awful.
In fact, I’d like you to think of the stupidest most cringe-worthy thing you have ever done.
Feel that feeling you have in your soul about that thing you did?
Now double that feeling.
I was worse than that.
And yet, we’re still friends. Because I love him and we have many wonderful memories together and the years eventually soften the sting of stupidity.
Plus we both did pretty well in chemistry.