Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
On my way to a party, feeling cheerful and attractive, I picked a couple of fresh frangipani flowers, put one in my hair and held another in my hand, so that I could continue to smell its beautiful scent. A neatly dressed middle-aged man, not quite sure of his balance, asked me for ‘some spare change.’
Suspecting that he was drunk and just wanted money for alcohol, I smiled at him, shook my head and continued past him. When I was a few meters ahead of him I heard, “Thank you! God bless you!” He sounded genuine, so I turned around, walked towards him, thanked him, and gave him the frangipani that I was holding.
His eyes welled up with tears and he said, “You might think it is nothing much that you are giving me, but no woman has ever given me a flower!”
It had never before crossed my mind either to offer a flower to a man. And yet doing it might have helped some men in my life to be more emotionally authentic and present with me, same as this one became. I felt deeply touched by the insight he offered me just as I had done my best to avoid any contact with him. Out of gratitude for the real encounter with this man, I asked him whether he wanted a hug. “YESSS!” and we embraced each other’s true humanness.
Feeling that his whole body was shaking out some deep sorrow, I wished that all men who ever had an issue with me would be set free from any grief to which I might have contributed by offering criticism instead of a flower.
This man’s emotional truth triggered an inner cascade of my healing insights. If I had sometimes found fault with men for being emotionally unavailable, I would not have known either how to stay emotionally present with them nor how to take my share of healing responsibility for our issues. The apparent difference between us - that they would bottle up their feelings and withdraw, while I would wear mine on my sleeve and talk – would have only masked the sameness of our hurt for not having been met by each other where it counts. It does take two to tango, in togetherness as in avoidance.
The brief but true encounter with this stranger made me look beyond my old hurts which provided the basis for an assumption that men would typically be ‘emotionally unavailable’ and interested dominantly in my good looks. Feeling whole and grounded, I arrived at the party as a Woman ready to really meet Men as they are.
Humility is the only true wisdom by which we prepare our minds for all the possible changes of life.
George Arliss (1868-1946), English Academy Award-winning Actor, Author, Playwright, Film Maker
Natural Abundance is as Humble as Beautiful