It occurs to me that some people are strangers because I have never met them. Others are strangers because they have never met me. There is a difference.
The difference is paradoxical and potentially frustrating.
I am not thinking about people with whom I haven’t any contact. I am thinking about people I know, people with whom I have shared time…and perhaps more importantly….people with whom I have shared thoughts, dreams, and emotions. How can these people still be strangers?
And the more you try to become known and familiar, the less that is known and more that is strange. Isn’t that frustrating? Think about it. We all must have these people in our lives. What has been the result of these missed encounters?
A friend shared a David Whyte poem that got me thinking about this and the puzzle is fixed in my thoughts. I won’t quote the poem, I have seen it too much. It is starting to frustrate me. But I found this one instead. Maybe this captures my frustration.
Everything is Waiting For You
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
– David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press
- Ending the Year On a Poetic Note: Reading David Whyte and Tomas Tranströmer (chalkthesun.wordpress.com)
- Connections (artistoftheeveryday.wordpress.com)