“Have I … “

R has known me for years now.  R replies, “Idk”.  “No, really, are you sure you don’t know?” “Well..”  And the thoughts come untangled, confirming my own feeling.  “I KNOW RIGHT”  I reply, feeling validated. “.. I don’t know what has happened to me.”  I really do think I need to make an appointment to test something, but — yes, the dreaded “but” — it’s one of those items I’m procrastinating on because I feel like it will be a failure.  And I hate wasting time on something that will turn out to be a failure.  Or well, that I think will turn out to be a failure, to be accurate.  (Did you see that– cognitive distortion caught right there!)

Somehow, it seems like we always need something to blame.  I forget where I read about this.  Maybe it’s this, maybe it’s that, whose fault is it?  Especially in the workplace, some are immediately focused on where the blame lies, when perhaps the better question to ask ourselves is what can we do.

This past week, a man about fifty came and asked to sit with me and talk over lunch.  I had been trying to surreptitiously scarf down a sandwich, and I stared at him for a little while as I chewed.  He hesitated upon realizing that he had invaded my space (Hello, I am chewing and I’m sure it ain’t pretty), and upon seeing his hesitation, I felt I had nothing to lose so I obliged him.  What interesting conversation was I going to be having by myself anyway?  He said he had been reading a book Never Eat Alone.  I had been sitting alone.  I thought the title  interesting, and apparently it seems to be a book about networking and broadening one’s horizons by… never eating alone?  Something like that.   We proceeded to talk about where I came from, which obviously led to talking about the training, which led to his comments about his skepticism regarding religions that close people off from the outside world and how precious my 20s are.  I told him I didn’t regret the decision I made to go, but that I could also never know what would have happened if I had chose not to.  He said he was surprised I hadn’t tried to convert him yet.  So I told him in summary the mystery of human life, and no, he did not get saved, but there it was, in twenty five seconds.  It may have never been spoken so dryly before.  Point is, I really didn’t care to pretend enthusiasm in order to incite it in him, but I did feel obligated to at least tell him what it was that I used to speak to strangers on a regular basis about.  I feel like I had already encountered discouragement when he had responded to my initial comment about Bible school by saying he was a “spiritual” and not “religious” person and tried to lead an ethical, moral, life by himself.  To him, religion was a highly personal matter and thus he was not inclined to attend “church”.  Now this is a comment that I heard fairly regularly in Berkeley, and generally it leaves me at an impasse.  Our conversation nonetheless was quite pleasant, and I am fond of speaking with older folks who have seen much.  He did applaud my desire to go into speech language therapy, noting that the hours were flexible, the pay was good, and the work in demand.  Well there it is, very practical.  (Sigh.)  At the end of our conversation, he said, “I knew I would learn something new when I sat down at lunch today”.  I never got his name, and he didn’t get mine.  He did mention he had a son at Cal though, and I wonder who it is.  Oh, what do you do with a lukewarm gospel?  There must be a remedy.

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