the Fool

Yesterday I started my morning off with a brief conversation with someone I don't particularly like. I've never had a good conversation with this person before, not once, and when I realized it would be necessary to strike up a conversation yesterday, I gritted my teeth about it. And then we talked, I got what I needed, the person was pleasant, I was pleasant, and not a minute of it was a burden. I walked away surprised by joy and playfully kicking myself for having such a bad attitude about it in the first place.

This is a lesson I've been learning over and over again recently. It's been a circling theme, and just when I think I've learned it well, I step right into it again. I begin with a preconception, however justifiably formed, that something or someone is difficult, unpleasant, unjust, a threat to my security. And then I'm proven wrong.

I was reminded this morning of the Proverb about "if your enemy is hungry." It can be hard, learning to bless your enemy. But it's a different kind of hard to assume the worst, and to receive food and drink instead. It's startling when you find yourself receiving the burning coals of a generous, unwarranted gift, because as it turns out, you are the enemy. Your own worst. Thinking about it gave me a different view of the whole book. In the long, dancing narrative of Proverbs, I was the fool.

Most of these cyclical lessons I'm learning don't involve me being an enemy, but they do involve me being the fool. Assuming, being proven wrong, over and over. But there's a great delight in that. I hope I'm always willing to have my assumptions undone. I suspect it's a lesson I'll be learning for a long time yet.
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