Make a move, say a word, or give a signal and others know exactly what follows. We often create a detailed roadmap where one knows what will happen. I can anticipate the words coming even as I observe the first motion of the shoulder, flick of the hair, response of the hand. Yet recently I have been consistently surprised by those closest to me. It is amazing what one can learn from a friend and lover of twenty-five plus years. One can think he knows, but slowing down, listening with fresh ears and opening one’s heart to possibilities allows one to see a side that often goes unnoticed. I found myself filled with renewed hope, encouraged by a sense of resiliency I now realize has always been there, and in awe of the depth of compassion and trust.
Yet the experience didn’t end there. Far too many times I have been just like the Mary’s friends in an old story. “When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there.” (John 11.31) They couldn’t have been more wrong and so was I!
I know teenagers can miss what parents tell them, yet Whitney has listened with an openness, depth, and wonder that I could use as a model. I presume, and as a result, miss the richness and maturity that she brings to the process. As I found myself watching with admiration and respect it gives me much on which to reflect. Even though I assumed Carli had grown over the past few months she has been away at college, I have found the changes incredibly challenging, though not in the way one might expect. I wonder if I have been as open to growing, willing to learn, and eager to explore new territory as she has been.
This is a time of reflection. I hope I can say thank-you to the girls for all they continue to teach and share with me. Today is our opportunity to do something with it.
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