The conversation over dinner was wide ranging, candid, and interesting. It was one of those exchanges reflecting a deep level of trust and confidence. With the background a soothing live jazz, good food, and comforting ambiance, I knew that I was going to get an earful around what was simmering just below the surface.
As the stories unfolded, each with a different texture and nuance, I found myself caught in the details. The storyteller did not seem to be angry with any of the lead protagonists. In each story there were interesting details, ironic combinations, and links to the chaos that haunts everyone I know. There were threads but nothing that particularly tied them together except for a few participants.
As I listened I found myself wondering along with the lead characters. Each story was a variation on one I easily replayed in the back of my mind. As readily as I identified with the story itself, I found myself wondering how I would describe my response, past or in process. I do not think I would have been as charitable as he was being. Even as I questioned him about his apparent willingness to live and let be, he countered. If I paraphrased his response, it would be something like this.
“Never assume that because I am not acting that I do not hope Karma deals with each with Divine justice. My prayer frequently demands action – ‘God, smash their teeth to bits, leave them toothless tigers.’(Psalm 58.6)”
As I replay the stories from dinner I realize that they were told with a wonderful embrace on life. This man loves to live – fully and completely. He loves the stories of others, always listening intently and passionately. His interest in others is broad and deep. As easy as it might be to form a judgmental view, he seems to have taken a very different direction. Each story is just that, a story of wonder, potentially filled with awe. I love his approach to life – he exchanges his simmering needs for justice with curiosity and genuine friendship.