Monday, August 15, 2016

Silent Smiles

          This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all. Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.   - Rumi

My father had a black leather calendar on his desk with daily words of wisdom. He shared them with me as I left for school. Rumi's message often guided our conversations.

While driving me to the finals of a tennis tournament against my toughest opponent, my father described the importance of stomach butterflies that kept one focused. I usually asked questions; one cascaded after another. Observing my unusual quietness on this day, he said, "See the red light two blocks ahead. By the time we arrive, it will change to green. So don't worry about it."  Of course it turned green. What did it have to do with butterflies?

My father's philosophy involved problem solving and laughter. He could divert my attention with a variety of techniques like the one above. He also distracted my mind whirl by pointing to cloud shapes in the sky. Or, he'd tell a story to make me laugh away the worry.

My father's smile charmed the day.  He knew when to express its upswing instead of words.

He believed in what he called, "stewardship." It meant giving more without expecting something in return. I miss our times together.  His words envelop me daily.  

He spun positivity into all situations.  Like Lama Suryas Das believe, "It is not what happens to us that determines our character, our spirit, our karma and our destiny -but how we relate to what happens."

Silent smiles and humor conquer all.

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