Thursday, June 04, 2009

A sleepless night, a steak sandwich and what lies beneath

Last night was one of those nights where I just couldn't sleep. I wasn't fraught with worry. My mind wasn't moving so fast my body wouldn't slow down. Sleep just wouldn't come until after I watched this incredible, misty sunrise that both heightened and altered the reality of the woods and field across the street. My night ended with a sense of wonder at the presence of God in this world. It was truly a moment when I was aware of both holiness and the humility of humankind in a tremendous, mysterious, beautiful universe. Best of all, it was completely without the pretension of a wisdom I don't possess and full of a simple, innocent happiness. That's a wonderful state in which to fall asleep.

Sleepless nights have the price of a hurried morning. I'd promised a friend that I really would meet her, some acquaintances and friends of friends for a lunch. I've bailed on her so many times in my hermit days that it's truly embarrassing. I've wanted to honor this little commitment to her and the bigger commitment to myself that I would make a more concerted effort to be sociable and have more of a life outside my own head. I had to rush to get ready.

I knew my friend wouldn't care what I looked like. Goodness knows we've seen each other looking our absolute worst. However, this was a ladies lunch in a southern town where women wear waterproof makeup when they work out. Worse, it was "casual." When it comes to wardrobe, casual is my least favorite word. Is it designer outfit casual or blue jeans casual? The morning mist had become a steady rain, and I opted for my favorite jeans (the ones that make me look like I actually have an ass) and a light purple summer sweater. I added a silver necklace with a large moonstone and garnet pendant my friend had given me, some silver and unpolished ruby earrings, a silver watch in a Celtic knot pattern, and my mother's monogrammed bangle bracelet that looks like it was fashioned from old silverware, and a few rings. I was hoping the jewelry would make enough of a statement in case I was seriously under dressed.

The small group did run all the way from denim to silk, and after a few moment's hesitation, it didn't matter. The most elegant woman there and I ended up having a conversation that ranged from books to spiritual journeys (and the books we've both read along the way) to how we exercise our creativity and passions to gardening and housekeeping. When I first saw her, I was a little intimidated. As we got to know each other a bit, I realized that if I'd been in the mindset I was a few weeks ago, I would have have been even more intimidated. By the time lunch ended, we were both saying we were looking forward to getting to know each other better and acknowledging that in a way, we did already know each other.

That was another good moment. I knew I'd released some fears and anxieties. Though appearances are superficial concerns, they're still real fears of being judged and found wanting. I took the risk of really engaging myself instead of just relying on good manners, other people's interests, and a decent sense of humor to keep small talk going. I honored my commitment to my friend and to myself. Both my integrity and ability to succeed at something personally challenging were reinforced. A ladies lunch may not sound like much, but it showed me some positive things about myself.

On just a regular, rather dreary looking day, I drew closer to God, to other people and to myself. Now, at its end, I'm reminded of just how much is happening all of the time. It's actually been a rather significant day.


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I love this post. I have great hopes for you.

I, on the other hand, know I would have sucked at this lunch, done all the negative things you said you didn't do, and left feeling more alienated from the world than when I had arrived. I know myself so well... :(

June 05, 2009 9:09 PM  
Blogger Nelle said...

I envy you a group of women to have lunch with. All my friends work, crazy hours even and it has been YEARS since I have sat down to have lunch with any of them. You are also fortunate to have friends who have hung in there...many of my friends drifted away when I went though cancer with my son, divorce etc.

June 06, 2009 9:07 AM  

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