Open? Open to what? Everything. By opening our eyes, hands, minds, hearts, etc., we are welcoming insight, friendships, knowledge, experience, and faith into our lives. Yes, sometimes it is a little scary to open ourselves up to new and different possibilities, but the reward is well worth it.
One day, while sitting out on my patio area (if you can call it that, as it is the size of a small apartment balcony, but it serves it’s purpose), a neighbor was taking a walk. She caught my eye, or me hers, and she started walking toward me. Yes, I was a little apprehensive, not because of her appearance, as she was a gentle petite older woman, but I suppose just because we had not met. What were her intentions? Anyway, she introduced herself to me, and asked if she could sit, as dumb me had not yet offered a seat. She said she had seen me out there many times on her walks and wanted to introduce herself to me. Her demeanor was very pleasant, had a soft voice and loving eyes, but I was still hesitant. Why? She spoke mostly of religion and wanted to say a prayer for me, not later, right then, right there, out loud. I hesitantly said okay??? At this point in time, I was still working on my faith, keeping it to myself so to speak. But at the end of our conversation, we exchanged telephone numbers and wished each other well.
Since that day, I have seen her many times. And, I suppose as my faith grew, and our encounters multiplied, the awkward feelings, I had at first, vanished. She is now a very welcome visitor, often telling me stories of her grandmother, sitting in her garden, surrounded by the beauty of flowers, reading her bible, and of her travels and experiences. As I have found out over time, she is half Italian and half Indian, and her husband, I believe, is African. He served in some type of diplomatic career, so they traveled extensively. I also recently learned that she is 90 years old. I thought she was elderly, but closer to 70. I now not only welcome her into my home, but I admire her, and her courage to come up to a total stranger and say a prayer for them. What a gift I received when I opened my heart to her presence in my life.
Another example of being open… which actually started this blog idea in my head, was last night, late, I saw a tall man, I do not know of what age or race, all dressed in black, with a hood over his head, and caught myself feeling afraid. Why? He was not coming after me, acting aggressive, or giving off any sense of danger. I immediately thought of the recent case in the news and all the ridiculous comments about hoodies. I have a a couple of hoodies, and yes when it is cold, I pull the hood over my head. Many people dress in black, as it is often considered elegant, classic, and complimentary. So, why was I apprehensive? He could simply have been walking at a good pace and wearing his hoodie, because he was cold and afraid himself, or neither. Rather, just simply out for a brisk walk at night.
So I suppose being open, also means questioning those innate or learned hidden fears. Yes, sometimes those feelings are intuition, but sometimes, they are completely off base. The point is to be open, to examine why you are feeling the way you are, and to question if there could be another explanation, one more pleasant perhaps (cup half full, or even brimming over) J