Here we are...

Just off the Port Bow—a place of uncertainty, adventure, and insight. Thank you for your ears, eyes and hearts. I hope to bring compassion, grace and beauty to your day.

"Incredibly Rude and Inconsiderate"

I was accused of extreme rudeness on Friday evening. By a stranger. I write about it, less to justify myself than to touch on the experience of rudeness in a larger context.

The gruesome details are too complicated to explain here. The situation is one we have all been in. You arrive at a restaurant and have to wait for parties already at tables to finish their dessert, drinks or driveling conversation in order for the table to be cleared for your occupancy.

It is easy to summarily judge and condemn these table-hogging, time-robbing boors, along with their families, ancestors, haberdashers and car mechanics.

I found myself on the wrong end of the judgment...and boy did I get it in the ear (by one of those not so patiently waiting patrons) as I walked out the door.

My insides were lit up like this evening sky. Hot and sinking.

The battle for American—no, really world—civility has been in the front pages and op-ed pages for nearly a decade now, since the brief post-9/11 era of mutual support collapsed. There are so many bits of moral high ground that it is a wonder we are not living in utopia.

I recently read a book by H.G. Wells, entitled Mr. Britling Sees It Through. The setting is England as world war breaks out in 1914. There is a breezy and casual nonchalance in the Essex countryside where Mr. Brittling lives. Troubles in Sarajevo? We are a civil people, who solve our problems with one another with dignity and grace. A squabble in the Balkans, nothing more!

Not until Mr. Britling's son is sent "Over There" and perishes tragically.

Our current cultural conflict became personal on Friday night. I became one of "Them". Now I find myself hyper-aware of those moments when I am inadvertently, or consciously, inconsiderate. You may not wish to hear my confession, so I won't indulge my penchant for penitence. I have learned that I am too inclined to cling to guilt, and not let go. Not a good thing.

Life Lesson - There is no such thing as "Them". As Pogo once said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
Another Life Lesson - I don't need to beat myself up over what happened...nor the other guy. This is not a question of enemies and assassins. 

Back to the world order and systemic boorishness.

A culture enamored of itself (selfie-dom) will naturally become more boorish. Our endless need to self-promote is the logical extension of graffiti tags on box cars and hunting pictures on cave walls. I suggest this as one of many factors in our cultural decline. Others might include entitlement, identity politics, fear/anger, hopelessness, class conflict, unemployment and too many choices of chocolate chip cookie recipes or hamburger joints.

Today we don't read of the isolated assassination of an Archduke in Bosnia. We live with the tragic deaths of scores by the hour.

Help me, Saint Francis!

I come back to the same resting place as I muse on these troubled times. Compassion.

Compassion shapes my will from moment to moment, urging me in grace to consider others and their needs, and to perseverate over an unfortunate incident at a restaurant.

I would be more like this sky. A gentle touch. Sounds corny, but I mean it.

More Daily Delights - Tuesday

More Daily Delights - Monday