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I sit in my corner, cut off from the race. Intentionally, perhaps. Naturally, too. I watch it from my quiet corner. That race is not mine. I'm sick of keeping up.
I see You too, pumping and out of breath. Sweat wetting your skin. You glance. Our eyes meet. Something in you smiles. Something in me returns.
You are tired. Come, sit. The tree is cool, the sun is warm. There is sweet water and quiet here. The race is to the strong and swift, and right now You are weak. Come, recover. No one can get to the end first. You will be on your way again soon enough.
You will come, stumble — crawl — to my place. And I will shift to give You room to sit. I will fetch You water, and the sunny breeze whispering through the leaves above will cool You.
You will curl up against the tree and really breathe. Just for the sake of breathing. There are no interruptions here, no sense of hurry. Your muscles will loosen, your features soften with being and contentment.
In this process I will be here to give You whatever help you need.
If You need to talk, I will listen. If You prefer to think, I will not interrupt. If You need reassurance, my hand will rest on your shoulder. If You crave affection, I will embrace You warmly. If You seek advice, I will first listen and ask questions and try to understand. If You express interest, I will share with You small moments of peace and quiet experiences that get at the heart of truth for me; and when You begin to remember your own, I will listen as you speak.
Perhaps you need a friendship.
That does not come so easily to me. So I will sit forward a little more, and turn to face you. Because this is something more two-way and takes more work and concentration. I haven't had much experience with this from my corner. But for you I will try.
Perhaps we will have starts and stops; the race has trained us to focus on the Self for preservation and advancement.
Perhaps it will not come naturally at all. Perhaps it will be frustrating and long-drawn-out, and we will lose sight of the grand view at times because we are so focused on the face and words of the one who is across from us. We will make mistakes in communication; we will be selfish and realize it; or the other will and point it out. We will try to be selfless and will feel, perhaps, vulnerable and violated. And I will wish my corner was just my own again.
But we will not be so frayed or strained or unhappy now. We will not be worried about the Self, rather about the Other. The goal will come, for we are on the path to it. But even as we step we do not focus on it, or on beating all the rest around us. We have learned how to run the race: to look at each other, to seek and make the race more fit for Other.
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