Being: Waking Up to Who We Are*

*Part 2 of 2

Outside the Tomb of Christ, Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Photo by Susan Fischbach Isaacs

I met with a friend recently who, in years past, has so adamantly put herself last that I have left our time together with an uneasy feeling about our friendship. She seemed often to be focused on what I thought, unduly fascinated, it seemed, by my ideas, and in general unhappy with the words and behavior of the people closest to her in her life.

We had lunch not long ago and it was almost as if a light switch had come on for her. But I happen to know that she has spent several years working in various formats to understand who she is, regardless of what anyone else says or does. I hadn’t seen her for a few months, thus, my sense that a switch had flipped, and being with her was a pleasantly different experience than in the past. She used language during our conversation like: compassion, forgiveness, and mindfulness. My favorite part of the conversation was near the end. I said, “I’m sorry I haven’t reached out to you in so long,” and she replied, “Don’t be sorry. –I mean, you can be sorry, but…” I loved it! (Yes, with an exclamation point.) In the time I’ve known this friend, she’s always been so concerned that other people were emotionally okay, that she sacrificed her own emotional health. It brought me joy to see her not take on my regret, as I can promise she would have in the past.

So, did a switch flip for my friend? When I asked her what had happened since I last saw her — I told her the change was remarkable — she couldn’t point to a particular moment. She said that these kinds of changes happen for each of us on different time-lines and she guessed for her, it was about 10 years. And, yes, she, too, notices a difference. She can tell that she reacts to people and events differently and is generally happier at a gut-level than she’s ever been.

What all this means, I guess, is that just as some days dawn (and may remain) cloudy, some periods of our lives may seem without light. We can’t make the light shine, as we cannot make the sun shine; but daylight does come, even with dim rays. There is always some kind of light, and if we look at what the light is shining on, it will reveal something about us. And all those little slivers of light, wherever we can find them, will eventually reveal who we were created to be.

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