At Meeting there are meditations posted on the wall for each month. I read through the queries for Fourth Month and got snagged on this one:
Are you open to receiving guidance and support? And do you give thanks for them?
There is nothing like being a parent to make you realize how much guidance and support you could really use. All day every day. And yet I am terrible at asking for and accepting help. I have no experience with this. If I ask it is with an apology at the ready. I need practice. I have the gratitude part, but as far ask opening myself to receive guidance and support I am like the priest and the grapefruit.
There was a young man studying to become a priest. Grapefruits were available in the cafeteria each morning. He did not grow up eating citrus fruit and discovered that he enjoyed having grapefruit for breakfast. But the act of cutting the fruit in half caused the him much anxiety. He discovered that there were two kinds of grapefruit. Sometimes when he sliced open a grapefruit the sections appeared as a sunburst of little triangles. That kind of grapefruit was easy to scoop out with a spoon and eat. Other days the sections were arrayed sideways. This other kind of grapefruit was time-consuming to eat and made the priest struggle through the membranes over and over to get to the fruit. He studied and compared whole grapefruits trying to tell one type of grapefruit from the other, but all the fruit looked the same. He continued to be confounded by his breakfast. One day the seminarian told a friend about his difficulties. The other man explained to him the anatomy of a grapefruit and how to cut them in half along the equator. The young man was ecstatic! This simple information was a revelation to him. It changed the quality of his life.
I am still comparing grapefruits. Do you ever feel like this? That one brief turn of the wrist is all that separates you from enlightenment? If only I was receptive to a little guidance.
I want to take Mo on the Metro one weekday in May to see Juan's art show in Washington, DC. I really want to see this show. As I plan the day trip out in my head, I consider how in the suburbs it's not a big deal if there are no changing facilities available. We can always retreat to the privacy of our car to take care of business if necessary. How does this work in an urban environment when I am only armed with a stroller and picnic blanket? Do people change their kids in the middle of a park? Are changing facilities more readily available in public rest rooms? And where will we eat? And when will she nap? And I'm thinking about how wiggly and difficult Mo is right now and wondering if taking her to the city by myself is a good idea and generally trying to talk myself out of the whole excursion before it begins. Conveniently a few lines from the movie Angus popped into my head. I don't know the exact quote, but Angus and Grandpa are having a conversation. Angus laments that he is at a difficult age (14), and Grandpa says, "Me too." I am so wrapped up in thinking about what a difficult age Mo is to do this little field trip that I am making the trip more complicated than it needs to be, and I realize that I am at a difficult age also. Upon reflection, who isn't?
And one final thought... I was at the children's consignment sale at the fairgrounds a couple weeks ago. As I waited in the long line to check out, I was right in front of an Amish woman and her two sons. The line deliberately snakes around through the toys and baby supplies, so you can shop those items while you wait. The little Amish boys wanted to touch every plastic, blinking, flashing, musical monstrosity that they saw. At first their mother scolded them and tried to shepherd them back into the line, but after a while it was a lost cause. She kind of shook her head and said they were old enough to behave themselves. The sale would be sensory overload for any child, but you could actually see the Amish boys' minds blowing. I thought how difficult it must be for that Amish mother to keep the consumerism of the world out of their home. And then I thought about how hard it is for me to keep even a fraction of the consumerism of the world (branded clothing, computer games, gadgets, princesses, etc.) out of my home. Some days we are not so different. Acquisitiveness threatens to swallow us all.