Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Inner Barometer

Revelations come at the strangest times. Mine usually happen while I'm driving. Something happens that niggles in my brain. I'm not sure why it is hanging around, but evidently my brain refuses to give it up. So why not embrace it and check it out, which is what I do in the car.

My friend and I had a conversation about the problem with the Java download on computers. I heard a program on NPR that said that the Department of Homeland Security was asking people to remove Java from their computers. I went online to check it out. ( Sure enough, it was true. When I told my friend, she flared up that it couldn't be true. Why she had just downloaded the newest version! She flew into this angry snit. When she had the snit, I got that clenching feeling in my stomach.

So while driving my car, I began analyzing this entire conversation fraught with feelings. First of all, I've come to understand that my body relays messages all the time. I don't always listen to them, but as I age, I know that I need to pay more attention. Her posturing and her comment immediately put my body into a "there's a problem" mode. I knew her reaction and words were not right by the way I felt. I didn't like her reaction. It put me on the defense as well as made me feel that she had just shot me down. I was casually mentioning something that I thought I should pass on, and she rebuffed it vehemently. So what was driving her response? My dear friend does not like to be told that something is different to her thinking. Instead of listening and having conversation, she goes into defensive mode. For some reason, she cannot see what she does to herself and others. She has a son who is difficult to handle...he is the shadow of his mother.

I know that a time will come when my friend and I can talk about it. Obviously, conversation and differences of opinions are something she needs to embrace. It is the only way we can learn and grow. Yet I see this same protective wall go up all around me by leaders and followers. That protective wall that wraps around a person and doesn't allow for growth and change. Sometimes I think the older generation is so steeped in opinion that new ideas, different ways of looking at things, become those things that separate people.

I wondered how my friend felt when she protested. I think perhaps she had that same clenching going on. But instead of just talking about it, she attacked it. Conversation, debate, change, cooperation. We are examples for others. We are the mirror of the past that made us who we are. For our families, we can become the future through peace and understanding. We don't all need to agree, but we certainly need to learn to care about one another enough to listen.

My inner barometer is usually right on. Wish I had learned to listened to it long ago.

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