Thursday, July 12, 2007

Making Love to My World

A dear Friend, Ray, an elderly gentleman who I noticed as he walked silently by (week after week… going about his business in a dignified, stately, and private manner), made an impression on my Spirit, with the beauty of his Spirit. “Please forgive my intrusion, My Friend” I said with a hand raised in a ‘please stop’ gesture, “but I am compelled to tell you that your eyes, your comportment, the very countenance of you, all speak together to say that the man behind all is a man of worthy and noble character. I want you to know that your regular passing of this spot, where I sit, has blessed me and made my world a better place for your presence in it.”

Ray (being a very shy and introverted man) blushed with this extremely out-of –the-ordinary declaration and thanked me. “You are quite welcome” was my simple reply and I immediately returned my attention to the work that was before me so that he would feel no requirement for further engagement. This “sense it, say it, leave it” (my words…not his) methodology was gleaned from the teachings of Leo Buscaglia, a Teacher, Lecturer, and Motivator of the mid-to-late 1900’s. The key elements, as taught by him, were to ask (and by the asking make clear your respect for and appreciation of the ‘space’ of the other) for “forgiveness for the intrusion.” Then, after your message has been stated, remove yourself straightway to make clear the absence of any hidden agenda, thereby giving a complete sense of safety to the individual upon whom you have just intruded.

Ray and I, over time, became quite good Friends. And it was on one of our more lengthy visits (which, with Ray, were hardly more than fifteen minutes… [for him constituting something of a marathon of dialog]) that he and I had the following exchange. “John-Michael, I have to tell you that I envy the frequent and varied relationships that you seem to enjoy. I am so shy and retiring that I could never be as open and free with myself as you are. It is clear that you do genuinely love all of these people with whom I see you interacting and they, you, in return. That is something that I must say that I do envy.” “Ray, My Dear Friend, I make love to all of the world around me every moment of every day. But, Ray, you speak of the glory and warmth of your relationship with your wife who you clearly adore and by your comments, make clear, to any observer, the fact that she participates equally in her adoration of you. You go home, after witnessing my daily love-fest with life, to her and immerse yourself in the totality of that love. I go home alone. Ray… I envy you.”

“Making love to life” is the most accurate portrayal of my living. The intimate engagement in the most compelling of life’s elements … the core of life (for want of a better term) … is the level at which I sense, acknowledge, and respond to my world. I take no notice of roles or titles for I have played many roles in business, religion, society, and family … and have done so wearing the many varied ‘hats’ appropriate to the roles (and did it all quite well and even to the laudation of each relevant world). And, in the doing, I learned the temporal nature of such things … passing; for the moment; and then to be gone as though never there. But love, whether revealed in unspoken, distant appreciation or intimate exchange for the briefest or more prolonged engagement … is forever.

I am simultaneously saddened and challenged by the climate of today’s social, political, religious, and cultural atmosphere. Anger, vehemence, criticism, castigation, condemnation, confrontation, and refusal to respect, appreciate, or even consider the perspective of another is the comfortably accepted norm. I simply cannot participate in (what I consider) this sickness. The twisting of the soul of a participant is the price-tag for involvement that I would rescue all within my domain from paying. I have chosen to demonstrate the satisfactions, joys, happiness, and comfort of embracing others in the exercise of admiration, recognition, appreciation, adulation, and yes, even love.

This choice of behavior is not without pitfalls. I have found no models after which I may follow. There are, to my knowledge, no systems for the practice of such behavior that would have all potential misunderstandings and miscues worked out. I, therefore, find myself blazing a new trail with all of the elements of risk and even danger befitting such an adventure. But the quest is far and away worth the scrapes and bruises encountered along the way. I can endure the passing looks of skepticism, doubt, uncertainty, and even rejection encountered with extreme rarity amongst the more frequent and almost constant smiles of appreciation, satisfaction, enjoyment, and even surprised delight that my behavior evokes. This is “making love to my world” as I am called by the conviction of my heart to practice it.

(originally penned, 2004)

IMAGES: Through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,


Anonymous said...

For some reason the expression 'The grass is always greener comes to mind'.

Truely blessed are those who can appreciate what they have - but as we are human in nature , not many of us know how to be completely content with our lot.

John-Michael said...

The beauty here is in the knowledge that neither Ray nor I would ever consider, for the briefest of moments, exchanging the blessing of our individual life paths for the aspects of living that we see in each others' respective experiences. For we are, indeed, made in unique and specially suited ways for the places in which we blossom.

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