Bright spots of Shepherdstown
Maybe a year or more ago, Linda and I attended a day long retreat/workshop on Celtic Spirituality at Randy’s church presented by an Irish monk whose name I have forgotten. At one point during the day he asked us all what are the sources of spiritual growth, where do you find it? All of us came up with answers that evoked solitude, silence, and meditation. What Brother had “up his sleeve” as the answer he sought was: other people. (He had already covered solitude and silence). Introvert that I am, the hustings are not my usual default location, so this was food for thought.
I bring this up because I thought maybe most of you are, like myself, feeling rather disheartened by this dreary election season of insults and low blows. If this be the case, I thought I would share some of the bright spots of my experience of other people lately right here in Shepherdstown.
Let’s start at Shaharazade. Last Sunday Linda and I had a fine dinner there in the wonderfully quiet atmosphere of the Tea Room. There was an awkward moment early on when we ordered two glasses of red wine. Since we only live a mile away and I was driving, Linda had not brought her I.D. and it seems that anyone served wine at said establishment has to be “carded”. It’s the terms of the wine license granted to Shaharazade apparently because of its proximity to a church. The regulators come in randomly to check the I.D. of anyone with a glass of wine in front of them. Age does not matter. Lisa, the owner, came out to explain all this to us. Of course, she did not know how these two strangers were going to react so she was slightly guarded. She gave a most gracious explanation of the situation and by evening’s end we were all chummy. (Linda ordered Jasmine tea instead?) I did not get our waiter’s name but he was very refined and charming. The overall atmosphere at evening’s end was one of pleasant peacefulness.
Let’s go now to Food Lion. If you’ve ever lived in Rockville and shopped at Congressional Plaza, you know how rude a parking lot can be. Food Lion’s lot that it shares with others is very spacious and there is always parking near the store. I’ve never had a rage encounter there. Inside the store is more of the same. Everyone, in the eleven years we’ve been here, has been upbeat and helpful and very courteous. Of course one’s fellow customers can at times be a challenge but then we have a chance to see how deeply our spirituality has taken root. Loving the stranger or someone who is making you suffer in some way can be an excellent spiritual exercise.
For the past week Asplundh has been trimming trees away from electric wires on our street in Ledge-Lowe. We had a hanging branch that we could not reach and we asked the crew if they would mind sawing it off. Not only did they do that but they put the branch and another large one on the ground through their shredder so we didn’t have to figure out what to do with it.
Finally, isn’t there a lot of wonderful energy around the Library Book Sale this weekend. For the first time we asked them to come pick up the books since we had very many bags. They came cheerfully and commented that they were having the opportunity to meet a lot of nice people that way.
Bill O’Brien is a Consciousness Coach. His website is www.billobrienconsciousnesscoaching.com.