Thursday, July 8, 2010
The woman who sits on the stoop out front of our building is tired. Her body is tired, it doesn't even sit up straight. Her voice is tired; it strains to form sentences. Her soul is tired, she leans away from connections.
My neighbor sounds irritable when I greet her and after a few encounters, I found myself judging her and beginning to dislike her. I changed my perspective, perhaps the only thing we really own, and viewed her fatigue, her anguish, and my compassion took root. I found myself wondering what this woman had lived through, gone through, to be so very tired.
Our buildings are tired, here at this co-op. They are in need of care that not one of us alone seems to be able to give. But when you get past the tiredness and the protectiveness, there is a vitality, a connection to each other. I needed help last night with a problem, a BIG problem, and one of the other cooperators, as we are called, rushed to assist despite the exhausting heat.
There is a community here, underneath the sagging exterior. And I am thankful. More importantly, my perspective has shifted. I am getting skilled at owning my view, my interpretations. It is the only thing I have, really. So I look behind the peeling paint and I see the history of centuries. These buildings we call home are CENTURIES old. Sure, they sag and wrinkle, they lean when they should stand upright. But, I see history here, people living together, different races, religions, ethnicities have lived here long before "desegregation" was even a word.
So, I walk slowly at night, following a long day at work, and I will continue to stop to talk to my tired neighbor. A bond will form, sure it will. It's all in our perspective. And, that is wide open.