Just after a hard rain, the chairs dried but the red brick still slippery wet, we just spent the last few hours out there. Sitting on the front porch, pipe in my hand, cigar in a newer friend’s hand, I was reminded again of the courage it takes to speak about ourselves in the hearing of others, and to trust that our humanity will be shared rather than used against us.
Words come tumbling out of my own mouth, and I wonder if they will be met with an appreciation for both their ambiguity and honesty, or if they will be the nail in the coffin of my once-perceived sanity and standing.
And as they come tumbling out, as they did tonight, time seemed to move slowly, Matrix-like, as if I could see the words themselves passing over the cigar cutter, the lighter, the pulsing citronella candle inside its orange ceramic shell, making it finally to the hearer. In that slowness of time, the notion that vulnerability is our biggest fear and our only hope seemed to float on top those words.
And they were heard. And affirmed. And shared.
Then words come back. Heard. Affirmed. Shared.
As many times as these kinds of moments happen, I’m always amazed at the palpable fear in daring to speak. But beyond the fear, the daring and the speaking are the only ways to honestly offer the invitation for anyone else to find in themselves the courage to speak back.
Otherwise, we all remain silent and unhearing.