Wistful Grace

Commentary

A few years ago, when I went full-time with my web business and suddenly had plenty of time on my hands, I began taking walks around White Rock Lake. Sometimes it was from a parking lot (a 9 miles hike) and sometimes from home (a 12 miles hike). That was the beginning of one of the best periods in my life. Here’s why….

Paying Attention
On those long hikes, one of the things I did was pay close attention to how I was responding to people I encountered along the way: “The site of that elderly lady elicited warm feelings. Why? When I saw that young man, I felt disgust. Why? Why am I so ready to love some people, but not others?” Even after years of paying attention to my responses, it’s often still a mystery. But at least I’m a little more attuned to my emotional state now than I was before.

So I Asked Myself….
Yesterday, I walked by the bench in the background photo. Thanks to the habit of paying attention to my emotional state, I knew there was something I feel every time I pass by a person sitting on that bench. Could I put that feeling in words? Here’s what I initially wrote:

Often, when I’m walking at White Rock Lake and find someone sitting on this bench, I wish to sit with them, to share their experience. People taking in the beauty of a place like this are close to God, whether they realize it or not. But usually I just smile and walk on by.

Is it So?
What I want to do (sit with them) is something I can report with more confidence than why I want to do so. In the prose explanation and subsequent poem, I connect my desire to a sense that God is somehow involved in the experience. That’s still just a theory of what’s going on in my head and heart. This theory may get support from a book I started into last night: “The Soul of Desire: Discovering the Neuroscience of Longing, Beauty, and Community,” by Curt Thompson.

Why Wistful?
It makes me sad that I either cannot or do not always act on my good impulses. To sit and talk with a stranger? There’s nothing wrong with that impulse. But something usually stops me. What?


RELATED POST:The Man From Valladolid” (based on meeting a fellow just yards from this bench).

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