Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lessons from Strangers

Over the past few days, I've been feeling ignored and overlooked by my family. Unappreciated at the best...slightly abused at the worst.

Right now I'm at a coffee shop trying to work, but the conversation at the next table is all too familiar. A middle aged man and woman are discussing in minute detail all the gifts and time and love being given to one of the woman's siblings while she, who has "truly earned" those things through her devotion, is overlooked by her parents. Check that. Not overlooked. Instead, counted upon for extra effort when it comes time to help others and then not rewarded. She actually got out a calculator to compute the dollar value of the time her mother devoted to making bedding for the nursery of the child (or maybe it's a grandchild) her sister is expecting.

Not a pretty picture.

Not hers, of course--my own. This stranger is reflecting to me the ugliness of my own attitude. Mind you, I don't get out calculators or say such things aloud. Not often, anyway and never in public. Instead, it's the constant sound track inside my head. Why don't they.... Why do they.... Why....

In the midst of this great adventure I'm on, I'm not truly appreciating and enjoying the ride. Any time I'm not working, I'm stewing in my own juices, feeling bad about other people's actions and choices. In this stranger's complaints, I hear the acid eating away at my own soul.

Time to get over my bad self, to let go of expectations of others and live happily with what is.

But first, I need to go get a gallon of milk and take it to my folks. The weather's too bad for them to be on the roads.


cheryl said...

Ah, great observation - to hear another's comments and to realize that it's a similar story in your own head.

Most people would hear that conversation and let it feed their anger.

You, instead, heard the conversation and are using it to heal.

Reading this will me be more alert to opportunities in the conversations around me. Thanks.

Michelle O'Neil said...


kario said...

And this is why people-watching is such a terrific past-time!

Love you and your open heart, my friend.

Amber said...

You are too hard on yourself. Really.

((hug)) :)