Thursday, October 30, 2014

I Need to be Authentic

"Let's not let it be so long next time, eh?" I said as we parted company.

I had just finished having dinner with a friend and it was just OK. Usually it's better than that, thoroughly enjoyable. This particular time I was off-kilter. Why, I wondered, was this so?

Then it struck me … I had not been authentic.

I failed to bring up some negative feelings, some stronger than others, about our relationship. I brushed the weaker ones aside as I met him and we walked to our destination. I brought the topics of some others up, he updated me, and my negative feelings dissipated.

The last item though, was a whopper.

I had auditioned to be a lector ( proclaimer of Scripture ) at our parish and my friend is the liturgical coordinator with the final say about who lectors. I am a seasoned lector, having lectured in various locations for several decades and skilled at the ministry. Even so, I had to audition and that was fine. Although I anticipated some nervousness, when actually there, I was not nervous at all … unless rubbery knees count. I overcame the knees, proclaimed the readings in a fashion to which I had become accustomed and sat down.

Because nobody said anything to me about voting me in or out, I went home with some confidence, and no assurance, that I had passed the audition. I quickly received an email, "You are on the sub list and we will touch base next week … "  I was elated. The email included suggestions for improvement from the audition "audience." I figured we would discuss those suggestions as well as other items when we touched base.

The touching base never happened; a scheduled meeting was canceled and not rescheduled.

I wanted to have the meeting. I wanted to have the conversation he had in mind when he said we'd touch base the following week.

Was I clear with him about my desire? NO; heck no! That would have been too easy or simple. No, rather, I said, "Well, am I going to be on the lector sub list forever?"

His response, not surprisingly, was to put his coordinator hat on
( removing the friend hat ), "Well, we have a lot more people wanting to lector than we have openings. A few lectors, unfortunately because it's for health reasons, will be leaving soon." Next subject.

To be clear: I wasn't consciously attempting to manipulate him into the post-audition lector conversation he promised. I was conscious that his response was less than I wanted and needed. That put me on edge and off-kilter for the remainder of the dinner.

My unmet ( and unrecognized ) need had played a significant role in reducing my enjoyment of our time together. The episode reminded me that awareness of what is going on with me, and being authentic with it, is one key to a balanced, enjoyed life.

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