I had a good talk tonight with my friend Gwen. Gwen became a friend through the dance club here in town. After being dance club acquaintances for a while, we ended up deciding to get coffee one Sunday afternoon, in which I got her life story (a tough one) and a lot of understanding about one person’s heart.
At one point, I asked Gwen if she would like to come visit our church, if only to add a little spiritual spice to her life. She came. And she came again. And again.
Later, I thought I’d invite her to join me at our small group at church. I thought “Why not”, because my friend Thearith and his wife Daing were in it, and like Gwen, they have Asian blood. And Gwen came to the group.
And she came again. And again. And her and Daing became friends.
Tonight Gwen called to share a few things with me, but the biggest one in the whole phone call was her gratitude for finding in the small group, in Tim and Daing, and in my friendship, a group of people who openly loved this outspoken, contrarian retired physician who grew up as a neglected, unvalued, iron-willed and self-reliant orphan girl in Taiwan. She said she realized now that she was tired of fighting, and that she had learned that people could get together and enjoy one another and care about one another, just because. She had never experienced this, this open-handed tender-hearted kindness that a bunch of strangers shared with one another.
Here is a woman who is recognizing that she is changing, that her lifetime of anger is melting, and that her hard heart is thawing. Because of this loving fellowship she had never experienced before.
I was pretty touched by her words. My heart leapt in joy.
And because she is my friend, and she shoots straight like Gwen does, she also shared with me some thoughts for myself that were wise and valued.
“Bruce, you are always trying to stand so tall and say the right words and fulfill your duty- to the church, to the dance club, to other people. You are always trying to be the adult.
I wish you would let your little boy come out more.
Little boys are a little selfish, but they are quick to know what they want and what they don’t want. Little boys follow their passions, and chase those passions fully. Little boys speak clearly, and say what they need and what they don’t want. They get caught up in whatever they are pursuing.
Do you know why a man and a woman click? Because when a man can let his little boy out and a woman can let her little girl out, and they can play together and really enjoy the heart of one another like that, then a relationship has a chance of really growing.”
I’m not totally sure how I am supposed to let that little boy out, but I suspect she is really onto something here- about how I live, about how I come across to others, about how I let the passions of my heart drive me.
I told her I’d work on trying to find the little boy, and making him come out more.
I am thankful for the wisdom of a new old friend, who showed me that people can soften after a lifetime of being discouraged, repressed, nominalized and ignored, and who told me that there is something to living like a 5 year-old dude, after all.
Gwen, thank you for valuable thoughts.
It was a great phone call.