I was reminded of something last Saturday that continues to feel important today, but like many messages that are intuitively based rather than otherwise, it may take a while for it all to sink in and make sense.
Do you know what I mean?
Inconveniences are invitations. The RSVP - or how you respond - is up to you.
What they are invitiations to: the where the what the who - is yours to choose. In the last few days I've gotten increasingly annoyed by the way people choose to whine and complain and fault find when there are so many other options.
Perhaps I am pointing the finger to myself.
My Saturday was meant to be spent basking in the breezes from the ocean. I was to sit along the hem of the Pacific ocean, breathing in the last threads of the previous school year and metaphorically set sail for the "what's next" and "what if's" patiently waiting for my attention and intention back at my home tucked deeply in the central valley.
My phone charging system, however, tugged me away from the ocean in the early afternoon.
My car charger surrendered to electrical current overload while I surrendered to finding a public place with suitable plugs . My GPS guided me to the closest Starbucks, which I discovered was one of the grocery store locations. Outside the grocery store was another corporate behemoth of mediocrity which was also known for some of us as a location for wi-fi and electronic device charging.
I walked into the familiar golden arched facility and sought after a plug.
I found one plug right where a gentleman with a very tanned face was sitting. I quickly discerned there weren't anymore plugs so I asked the gentleman if I could please charge my phone there. His blue eyes met mine and he was quite pleasant.
I plugged in my phone and asked him if he would like anything to eat. This seemed a fair exchange. When I returned to the table with his burger and fries, I almost did what seemed unthinkable later. I almost sat myself away from him.
I had allowed his weathered skin, his dirty hair, his oversized clothing and obvious lack of a place to call home to cause me to be glad to give him food and charge my phone near him, but not share the intimacies of sharing a table with him.
The jolt of humiliation brought me to my senses.
I steered the tray to him and took my iced tea from it, offering him the food. "May I join you?" I asked him.
I introduced myself and took my seat, smiling. He looked down at the food I offered and I looked down at the book I brought. We amiably shared the time together before I asked permission to ask a question.
"Are people kind to you?" I wondered aloud.
He nodded yes, which pleased me, even as I wondered how honest he was being. "Do you stay around here?" I asked him, "Its such a beautiful place."
"I'm traveling," he told me. "Looking for work....from Texas."
This was unexpected.
I would not have thought he would be even thinking about looking for work. I wondered if he believed himself. I wondered why I didn't believe him.
My voice said a simple, "ohhhh" and we continued in silence until he got up to leave.
"Thank you," he said softly.
"Best wishes with everything," I said, slightly less softly.
It was inconvenient to charge my phone away from the beauty of the beach. It was an invitation to reconsider wonder, work and what we seek both individually and collectively.
As I was writing this, my thirteen-ear-old son, Samuel, came into the room.
"Why are you looking out the window?" he asked, as my fingers paused and my heart turned from the screen.
"Because sometimes when I am writing and I don't know what to say, I stop for a moment and wait for the words to come."
That satisfied him. He left the room, back to his space and his computer games and his realm of creativity.
Words came to this page, but I'm not convinced they are "right" and I'm pretty sure there is more to this story. I'm still discerning what this inconvenient invitation was all about, actually, though I am pretty sure it is about asking, living and writing the questions.
I wonder, too, about you.
What chapter will you add?
What questions will you ask and answer?