Is There More to You Than What I See?

Today’s senryu: More to You Than What I See

Who are you, really:

the person you think you are,

or who others need?

Two separate encounters took place yesterday. First, a woman in my cardio class came up to me after the workout and said, “I just want to wish you happy holidays.” This woman lost her husband three months ago to Alzheimer’s and is facing her first holiday season without him. She stuck out her hand to shake mine and with sad eyes waited for my response. I took her hand and lightly drew her in for a platonic hug and said, “thank you, I wish you happy holidays, too.” She smiled and said, “You’re a good guy.”

Second, a woman in my Tai Chi class came up and started talking about responding to an invitation to join a non-profit board. She’s a lawyer and her resume’ would easily qualify her for membership. She said she had some reservations about accepting the invitation because of some “PTSD issues” which she shared vaguely with the board chairperson, and they agreed that this wouldn’t be a good board for her to serve on. She added that the chairperson stated, there would be many similar “issues” that would come up in board discussions that might trigger her past traumatic experiences. She didn’t tell me what those “issues” were, and I didn’t ask.

Perhaps the senryu above is unnecessarily dualistic. Perhaps we can be AND serve others’ roles simultaneously. Perhaps, the writer Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was wise when he said, “we are what we pretend to be so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” Kurt Vonnegut (2009). “Mother Night: A Novel”, p.5, Dial Press

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