Saturday, June 21, 2008

we have to work around our imperfections to feel welcomed

Last night, I went to the first "party" with my friends since I left the Eastern shore. I haven't changed, I have such a paradoxical response to events like the one they hosted last night. I cannot figure out if I dislike them more deeply than I enjoy them. What usually happens is that I arrive and am momentarily over-stimulated by all the people, then I notice that there is someone new or someone alone or worse than that the people that didn't know each other when they arrived, still don't know each other when they leave.

So, I spend most of my time meeting new people, enjoying surprisingly candid conversations with strangers and looking around for the most auspicious moment either to welcome the new people or to leave. I could point out how much I love people and find that honest, sincere, frank conversations --even though they may be rare-- are absolutely precious when you have them. But, I could also confess that my stomach turns over when I wonder if everyone felt welcomed, genuinely.

It helps to remember that we are just imperfect people trying to learn how to live life in common with others in a way that is good. The imperfection of the party is due to the fact that all of us are trying to work around our fears, flaws, and foibles. Those minor weakness or failings of character actually make us distinctive and particular, like the shy one or the slightly overly rambunctious one, etc. and that reminds us that it is beautiful in spite of its flaws. Hopefully, acknowledging our irritations, idiosyncrasies, and insecurities will be a way to more honest appreciation of this face of hospitality.

I think I'd still prefer the intimate "family" dinner... most of the time.

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live the questions now... R.M. Rilke