I received a call Thursday night from an unknown number. I would not have normally answered since I didn’t know the number and I was with the family watching a show, but it was from an area of the country where I have a very pregnant friend about to deliver and so I took it in case it was related to any incoming information on her.
To my surprise and dismay, it was a gentleman that I had met back in August 2015 stating he was going to be passing through the Denver area and he had my number from when we had met and could he stay with us for a night.
Let me say that there aren’t many people whom I can’t jell with on some level, but I was so adverse to spending any time in his space when we were both at this week long prayerful retreat that I managed to be anywhere he wasn’t.
It began with the first words he said to me. “Hi, You can call me Mushi” (Honestly, I can’t recall what his name is, but that one floated into my brain just now, so we’ll use it)
When someone say’s ‘You can call me __’, my reaction tends to be negative. First of all, are you separating who can call you what? I’m to be in a category of people who call you one thing and there is another category of folks who call you something else? I guess what he was conveying was that he was born with one name, but because of his path, he goes by another now as he declared himself to be a Sufi Monk.
On paper, this should be a person I am very drawn to hearing their stories and finding out the how’s and why’s of his path to date. I love those kind of stories. I want to hear of our inner and external journeys.
The problem for me was that each time he put a part of himself out there, I felt there was a hook embedded. He declared that he only works for peace everywhere and has given up most of his worldly possessions and only exists on the generosity of others. So when he goes somewhere, he trusts that he will be provided for. And while I see that as an altruistic endeavor and see the beauty of that when you offer yourself up for work and don’t expect anything in return and just trust that all will somehow be provided, I also wonder about the times when your not offering yourself up for work. Aren’t you then a beggar? (not that I’m condemning beggars either – that’s another philosophical post maybe one day)
This prayerful retreat was outdoors and required much work from everyone in support to keep everyone fed, area clean, supplies maintained, etc. I guess he felt his duty in being there was to just be social as he lifted no fingers to help when I was around. This of course made it easy to keep a distance for me, as all I had to do was be busy and it invariably kept us in different areas.
I thought I was showing no outward signs of dis-interest in him throughout the week, but at the end of the week, he caught me alone and asked me why I hated him so badly. Ouch. I claimed that I could not even contemplate hating him as I did not know him at all. Obviously, I was not as good at hiding my inner feelings as I thought and he was much more observant than I had given him credit for. I should also add, that no one there seemed bothered by his presence at all and most really enjoyed their conversations with him. I just chalked it up to one of those reverse polar magnet people that you can never get close to.
So I was surprised at the end of the week when he made his rounds to get people’s contacts that he also came for mine. ‘Hell no’, was my thought, but I felt compelled to provide mine since all others were doing so and since I never want to stand out in the crowd, I gave him my cell and my oldest email that is hardly ever checked. I figured if he did call one day, since I don’t generally answer calls on my cell from people I don’t know in area’s I don’t go to, I would be safe.
So now I’ve wondered, am I to be the Samaritan and take in the person asking for help? Or am I to be true to my feelings and honor that I have felt awkward about this person and it’s not best to mix oil and water. Or am I to bring him into my home, feed and provide comfortable sleeping and delve into why I have an aversion – sitting in the uncomfortable aspect for me to understand the why of the dislike?
I was mulling it over in my mind in the early hours again this morning, once more going back and forth in my mind. – “It’s only one night, I can endure anything for a night” says one half my brain. “I’d gladly let him stay if I could have no conversation or contact with him” says another portion. “Why would you do something so against how you really feel?” says yet another portion. And so the battle raged.
Then a friend texts me and I relayed what I am pondering. She reminds me of how busy we are and it is not a lie to say such and just say we are not available.
It is at that moment that I come to the real lesson in this for me. If I had been honest with him over a year ago, I would not be pondering the dilemma now.
So now I am tasked to communicate in an honest way why it is that I feel he should find other accommodations as he passes through our area. As the hubby pointed out, we do have a few people that might quite enjoy the encounter, so I may see if I can still help, just not in the way that includes me.
Hopefully, this lesson stays with me as a gentle reminder for future encounters.