We were only days into it, and one of the women did not fit in.
I was a smart young professional with a new job, not yet a mother, newly married, my life ahead of me. I was in South Carolina for 3 weeks of sales training. There were 10 of us from around the country, 2 men and 8 women, staying at a lovely hotel in beautiful Charleston. We were accomplished. We had been hired for these positions of responsibility and been given company cars, salaries with commissions, and opportunities to travel.
The ten of us started together, and liked each other. At some point in the experience, between our training and our meals and our being out on the town at night, we decided that Linda was a little odd. We were kind people and we did not start out to alienate anyone. It was just that she did not want to go to the same places for lunch that most of us agreed on going to. And then she did not often want to go out after the long day. And then someone mentioned how Linda would sometimes answer questions in a nervous, rambling way in our classes. Oh, yes, now that you mention it, we had all noticed. Such crimes, right?
And so it continued. With very little effort and even less awareness, if we talked or noticed Linda at all it was to point out her imperfections. Together, in our nice little cohesive, supportive group, someone would have an amusing Linda story.
By the end of week one, none of us “liked” Linda. When it came to Linda, we were all on the same train on the same track going in the same direction. For by day six we were in some sort of silently made agreement.
This meant that if Linda did anything right, we were not going to be able to see it.
On the Friday at the end of week two, we were back at the hotel, each in our rooms. We were changing for a late dinner with the president of the company. There was a quiet knock at my door. It was Linda wearing a bathrobe. She did not know what to do. She had changed early, had been sitting reading to pass the time. Her period had started to flow as she sat. She gripped her white dress pants in her hands. The crotch of them was stained with fresh red blood. She had nothing else dressy to wear.
Her obvious distress made me pull her into my room. It was actually so funny that she knocked on my door, because I knew the best way to get the stain out. There was a technique I had been taught by my then husband Dan, who had to get stains out of clothing when he worked at a men’s clothing store. I told her that story, as I looked into her sad little face. I told her not to worry. She started to cry. I took them from her, saying, “No, really; I can get it out, you will be fine.” I smiled at her. I gave her a hug; I mean she just seemed to need some reassurance. I had her sit down while I worked on them myself. It took patience. I had to keep at it and keep at it. While I worked we just talked. When the stain was gone I dried Linda’s pants with my hair dryer. It all took about thirty minutes. And in that thirty minutes she taught me that I could like her, very much.
That is it. That was Linda’s gift to me.
How wrong we had been. Ninety percent of our community had been in agreement… and then.
I received the gift of time. Time with Linda, and time to see Linda in a new way.
Even in tiny little ways about small things and without even noticing we hop on trains that ride on tracks that keep us heading in one direction and we become blind to what we do not see.
Linda was in front of us, a living breathing person just like us and we could not see her. How easy it is then, to not see groups of people we do not know at all, who are different in little ways and live in places we are unfamiliar with and have struggles we have never felt.
The Pope has arrived, and I am not Catholic, but I recognize true kindness of spirit and a pure example of our ability to love one another in a divine way shining through his eyes and radiating from his body. We carry energies and his divine energy just traveling into and about our land is a blessing that I think I can feel. This man is special. He is coming from pure love. Can you feel it? Can we hear him? Can we see how he loves and learn from it? Can we love more divinely, all of us?
The love the Pope reflects is in all P e O P l E. See what I did there? Just like the love of GOD is in every DOG. All living things, all life, birds-beasts-flora and fauna need the very best love each of us can bring to heal ourselves and heal our planet. YES! I love you even as you roll your eyes. I might need thirty minutes with you, but…
I do mean let us be corny with love.
…Vulnerable with love.
…Courageous enough to just love anyway.
May we question the trains we ride on, and where our tracks are going. May we occasionally hop off and take a cab.
May we learn that we can like each other, very much.