I recently was on my way to meet a man I had heard much about. My friend was convinced that Jack and I just had to meet. The connection was our love of travel, but frankly, while I talk about loving travel, Jack actually spent his life traveling. As a government official, he had traveled the world extensively and lived in various countries throughout Europe, the Mid East, and South America. In his retired life, he continues to travel as a historian aboard a well-known cruise line. I could only imagine the stories of his incredible experience of living in 15 different countries. I had many, many questions I wanted to ask him.
And so we met. Hmmmm…what happened? A few minutes into his monologue about how knowledgeable he is, I realized that our conversation never had a beginning…not the usual “Glad we could get together” pleasantry that gets a conversation started. Jack just began talking about himself. He talked and talked and talked. Only at one point did he engage me in the conversation, almost catching me off guard. “How many languages do you speak?”, he asked.
“I only speak one language, Jack, but I speak it very well!”, I said and I laughed out loud at what I thought was pretty funny. Here is a man who speaks seven different languages and I only speak one, but very well mind you!
Failing to see my humor, he frowned at me. As you can imagine, that only made me laugh more and oh dear, it just wasn’t good! My laughter was out of control! My palms got clammy, and the giggling persisted. I realized that I actually felt stupid in the foreign language area, uncharacteristic of me, but perhaps jack’s frown and his impatience with my uncontrollable laughter added to my feeling out of sorts. He frowned and I heard him sigh and if I weren’t laughing so hard, I think I might have heard him tapping his foot with impatience as well!
Jack sat there staring at me, a welcome relief to his monologue frankly!!! Fortunately I recalled something St. Augustine had written a long time ago. While I couldn’t remember it verbatim, I remembered the gist of it and grounded myself again because I knew this was going to be good material for a blog.
You may be pleased to know that I stopped laughing, wiped the tears off my face (yes, I was laughing that hard!!!) and said, “Well, Jack, you have told me a lot about you! So, I think I will be going now.” I got up and left..yes, I did!
At home I searched in my famous “box of quotes”, for the words of St. Augustine who must have met Jack in Jack’s previous life…
“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.” (St Augustine).
Ah…..Jack had wondered about all those different countries he traveled extensively and yet “passed by himself without wondering.” Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN levels have not passed by themselves. They have wondered who they are and have worked hard to understand their lives and when and where they are effective.
Let us remember to not pass by ourselves without wondering. Let us wonder what our purpose in life is. Let us wonder about ourselves and how our behavior aligns with our value set. Let us wonder how we can appreciate others around us and learn from them. Let us wonder if we are missing opportunities to learn from others. Let us not pass by ourselves.