I've heard and read it said, in innumerable places, that life isn't so much about finding "the answers" as it is about "asking the right questions."
Of course I know this is true, in a "head knowledge" sort of way. I know it in the same way I know that I should change the oil in my car every few months.
Tonight I asked James a question in a tone I didn't quite intend but that ended up being exactly the right one, judging by the look in his eyes and his answer. And it got me thinking....
What are the questions I most want to be asked?
Here are some I came up with:
- "Do you need a cup of tea?" (asked in the same tone you might ask someone who looks upset, "Can I help you?")
- "What do you need?" (then wait for an answer)
- "Do you know how attractive you are?" (then explain just exactly how)
- "Do you feel understood?" (if this prompts tears, know that the answer is "no," and determine to "get it," even if it takes all night, all month, all year or your whole life)
- "Would you like a back rub?" (then listen for the happy sighs and the little noises that mean you've found a sore spot that needs working on)
- "What did you most want when you were six?" (if this prompts tears, hold the Other as if they are six, and respond in kind)My fingers pause now. In the silence, I hear the sound of traffic in the freeway bed next to our house.
- "What do you want more than anything?" (asked in the same tone you might ask, "What sort of jam would you like on your toast?" and then dig your knife into that jar)
- "Do you know why I love you?" (then tell the Other all the things you see when you look at their Real Selves, as if you are painting a picture in great detail, making sure they SEE it as clearly as you do)
I am thinking about how much I want to be asked those questions.
My next thought is that (of course!) the above list is a perfect guide to showing my loved ones how I love them, something infinitely more significant than simply saying, "I love you," although of course it's nice to hear that, too.
The thought after that comes from a new place inside of me...
What if the above list is composed of questions I can ask myself? After all, don't I know by now (please, for the love...if you have learned anything, Cheryl...) that waiting for others to love me "enough" that I can finally see and know my own value, is like waiting for everyone in the world to be served dinner before I take my first bite; wait long enough and half the world will be eating breakfast already.
Though I have been asked almost every single one of those questions at some point in my life, at least once, and I can say without a morsel of equivocation that I will never be asked those questions "enough" in this life, I also know that I need not
SIT AND WAIT.
So I offer myself some tea. And the taste of the tea is no less sweet than if someone else offered it to me. And I breathe in the delicious pleasure that that is. It is ... a different kind of pleasure.
And I find...
I didn't stir the honey in well enough, so the last sips are soooooooooooooosweeeeeeet
It satisfies a craving I didn't know I had