Today I remember Jesse, a lovely little girl who lived next door to us. She would pop in to visit, see me sitting in the lazy boy chair, and with a twinkle in her eye, ask me for a glass of water. Knowing what was to come, I would get up to fetch it. She would then promptly jump into my chair, push herself back against the backrest, giggle and say mischievously, “Uncle Don I’m in your chair,” and we would laugh and talk. She died tragically in a motor vehicle accident and is forever enshrined in my heart.
Another shot of our visit to Scotney Castle. Loved this scene of the old castle.
This morning I was in the presence of what I can only describe as an overly exuberant person. Being more on the introverted side of things, encounters like these test my patience. I can’t join in because of my sense of incongruence, and a deadened response to it is just plain bad manners. So I find myself, at times, in these rather uncomfortable and in-between places. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve mastered a subtle and measured form of enthusiasm, which I reserve specifically for these encounters. I applied it in this case and it served me well.
Have you ever sat quietly and looked at someone you love and realised that in spite of your closeness to them, there’s also in them a distance you cannot span? It seems to me that the distance we experience in relationship is the very thing that invokes our longing to be close and intimate. Managing these two relational dimensions has much to do with relational health.
I remember watching the movie “Out of Africa” the theme of which was this struggle and interplay between closeness and distance in the relationship between Karen Blixen (Merryl Streep) and Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford). What struck me at the end of the movie, were the words Karen spoke at his graveside, after losing him in an air accident – “…We loved him well. He was not ours. He was not mine.”
I’d like to follow this theme in a few more posts.
I’ve been deeply struck by what I can only call a sheer coarseness permeating our relationships, especially here in the UK at this time. I see it happening specifically in our language in the political sphere of life. Our words have become rough, raw and thoughtless, No doubt the nature of our language unveils the reach and depth of our souls. I’ve had to sit myself down and take a long inward look. Sadly, I’ve discovered a real lack of reverence and empathy.