Yesterday's meeting was a good one. The topic was about being powerless and having an understanding of what that means.
What I want to write about though is my own self-centered behavior. There is a lady who comes to this meeting only occasionally. She describes herself as a senior transplant from the northeast. She shares that she hasn't made many friends. Ordinarily, this would generate a lot of compassion, but I have to admit that she has a way of sucking the air out of the room when she shares.
Yesterday, she interrupted another member who wanted to share. She said that she needed to go first because there was something that was pressing on her mind. It was a very long share that resulted in her being cut off by the chairman. At the end of the meeting, she turned to me and asked if she could talk to me for just 5 minutes. I said sure and said that we could sit down and talk. She wanted to go outside the room because she didn't want others to hear what she had to say. I had no clue what it was about but figured that she wanted to talk more about her share.
Many in the group were planning to go to lunch to celebrate my Al-Anon birthday. My sponsor was waiting on me. I knew that the lady was long winded and to be honest, I find her off putting. I hesitated for a moment, but then said that yes I would talk with her. Several people then came over and started talking to me about lunch and giving congratulations. The lady was getting agitated at all this and was looking displeased.
Another member of the group saw the dilemma and came over saying that she would take the lady outside for a discussion. I felt this wave of relief wash over me. And immediately felt shame because I had not wanted to talk to her. I had said that I would but knew that I simply didn't want to have an intense discussion with her at that time.
The strange thing is that she came to lunch about a half an hour later with the member who had stayed to talk to her. And she seemed to have an enjoyable time. I was grateful for that.
My response to the situation bothered me and made me reflect on my behavior. I realize that we each have shortcomings. And there are going to be people with whom I simply don't mesh. There must be something that I recognize in her that triggers some discomfort in me. I don't like when this happens, but I'm glad that I recognize it. I am not sure whether this is being self-centered, or whether I can simply give myself permission to not like everybody. I am grateful that there was someone there who had a gift to give to this person that clearly I didn't have at that time.
I guess the Al-Anon closing sums it up: "After a while, you'll discover that though you may not like all of us, you'll love us in a very special way—the same way we already love you."