Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Caring and heartfelt

One day I was talking to a friend who had just read through some short biographies.  She was a little teary about a few of them, reading of suffering, handicaps, and loss.  I had read the same documents depicting the same difficulties but they had not touched my emotions in the same way.  

Ok, she is female and I am not.  It is no news that many males are not as emotionally sensitive most of the time as many females are, most of the time.  (Notice all the weasel words I inserted.)  As a younger man, I looked down on being in the grip of emotion.  But I have two strong ideas in the back of my mind about women and men.  

First, women live longer than men.  That may be God's will or nature's plan but it may be an indication that men might do well to change their ways, their diet, or their philosophy.  So, maybe I should make the effort to be a little more sympathetic about struggles, hardships and sorrows that I learn about.

Second, (a corollary of the first, maybe) "the female always wins because of her greater quiet".  Rather than keeping my focus on what can be done, maybe it would enrich my existence if I took a moment to put myself a bit more completely in others' shoes, their lives.  If my perception is a little slow, I might have to wait a couple of extra beats to be able to more completely feel what they might feel.

I have noticed that young mothers can be arguing with their husbands or their fathers, turn their head, purr lovingly to the baby, and turn right back into the argument.  I have trouble switching emotional gears that rapidly and smoothly.  

My great-grandson and I went to the library in search of something good for him to read.  We asked the librarian for recommendations and she gave us a printed list.  The children's room is laid out in a complex way, with different stacks for different collections.  I am not clear on what is where nor on whether she has access to information from her computer that I don't.  So, I asked her if she would tell me where we could find some of the titles that sounded good.  They were popular books and one after another, we found they had been checked out.  The young woman seemed truly unhappy for us each time she found that still another book listed had already been checked out.  

I had never heard of the books and wasn't at all sure we would like them but she seemed somewhat hurt that her collection was not entirely available to us.  At first, I found the intensity of her emotional signals of regret a bit hard to handle.  Then, I realized.  She cares!  She actually cares.

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