Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Conversations Overheard

Snippets of conversation the last few days have left me wondering.

As I walked up the stairs to the train yesterday, a lovely middle-aged black woman was descending.  I noticed her because she seemed regal.  As she descended, a scruffy man, of around the same age, was following.  At one point he simply stopped, and stared at the descending woman.  His behaviour made me pause, because while, though I'm sure it's totally judgemental of me, it wasn't something totally out of the norm for what I'd expect of a man who looked the way this one did, it was simply so blatant.  As my startled thoughts worked their way through "Is he really checking out her ass that blatantly?" my eyes jumped upwards, studying him, and without planning to, I made eye contact.  As soon as he caught my eyes, he began speaking.  As I pulled a headphone from my ear and heard what he was saying, I was grateful this lovely lady had nearly finished descending, and was farther from earshot.  "Look at all that blubber, eh?  So much blubber!"

Really?  This is what you had to say about a lovely woman, who wasn't even particularly large.  And I spent the rest of the train journey home wondering what it takes to form a person who sees others through that particular lense.

This morning I overheard two women, discussing another woman, who one of the two talking considered to be a good friend.  There have apparently been frustrations in the relationship, and the first quizzed the second, "Well, if she's got this and this and this (boyfriend, car, job etc.), what does she need you for?"  It seems the friend who isn't present hasn't been treating the other woman in the conversation that well, and the friend she was conversing with felt it would help to point out that the first friend was probably treating her poorly because she felt she no longer needed the support.

Really?  That's how we judge relationships?  On whether they meet basic needs?  Having a boyfriend and a car and a job means that a person must be entirely fulfilled and therefore not need a friend.  Not factoring in other circumstances that may have caused an ebb in their friendship for the time.

I'm feeling deeply introspective these days and conversations overheard like these are penetrating deeply as I again ponder life and relationships.  As I work to sort out how I want to be, and how I believe Jesus desires me to conduct myself relationally.

What sorts of conversations are making you think these days?