A few months ago, someone in my community asked if I would be able to offer him English classes.
Honored, I agreed and began to teach him immediately.
Twice a week.
We were meeting regularly for about two months and as far as I was concerned everything was going great until one day…
He didn’t show up.
I called him to find out what happened.
He said life was getting really busy.
Sounded strange to me.
That he didn’t show up to either of the two classes that week.
I get it.
We all get busy.
We all get overloaded.
And sometimes need a break.
But, when he didn’t show up the following week, I knew something was up.
And after phone chasing him, I found out that he chose to study English somewhere else.
Just like that.
And, boy was I pissed.
Not so much (or at all) that he chose to study elsewhere, but that he didn’t have the decency to just tell me.
How could anyone do this to someone?
How could he do this to me?
After all that I’ve done for him?
I considered confronting him.
Stuck on needing to WAKE THIS GUY UP!
And explain to him…
YOU. JUST. DON’T. DO. THIS. TO. PEOPLE.!
But, I doubted myself because I just wasn’t 100% sure that this was the “right way”.
Is it my responsibility to make him, or any person for that matter, aware of anything?
Am I my brother’s keeper?
Or, is my responsibility to sit with patience and compassion and just notice things unfold.
And not judge them, as the Buddhist approach may be.
By confronting him, would I just be feeding my ego?
Or, would he benefit as well?
I didn’t feel certain with my decision, but my gut told me to approach him anyway.
And the abridged conversation went something like, “I wanted to make you aware that I was hurt with your actions.”
And his response went something like “I know. I was totally wrong. I’ve been meaning to approach you. But, as time passed it became more and more difficult. I’m really sorry. I’m so glad you approached me. This was a great life lesson for me.”
Just like that.
Easy as pie.
It seemed like a win-win situation.
I felt relieved.
He expressed gratitude.
So why was I still stuck on “do people have a responsibility to wake others up”?
Probably because I hadn’t asked myself that very same question.
Would I want others to wake me up?
Would I want my husband to make me aware of standards I’m not living up to?
Would I want a community member to make me aware of an action that I did that may have hurt her or others?
Would I want G-d to make me aware of ways I can become a better human being?
And the bottom line is, as much as the child in me wants to answer:
Just leave me alone!
Live and let live!
I’ve got enough stress in my life!
I don’t need to hear more from you!
The honest answer from deep in my heart would be, “yes”, I would want to know.
(As long as it comes from a place of love and is expressed in a loving way.)
Because I would want to be more aware.
Because by becoming more self-aware, I emotionally and spiritually grow.
To be the best person I can possibly be.
And I can only hope that others in my life would feel the same.
But, I must reiterate…
That the sender of any message must be coming from the heart (and not from a place of parenting or reprimanding) and that his/her words must be chosen carefully and cushioned with love.
It’s imperative that the receiver understands that place you are coming from.
And if you are the receiver, you also must be willing to be open to the fact (even thought it’s not always clear) that the person’s words are coming from the heart. Or, at least most likely the person wants to be coming from the heart, even though that may be a difficult place for the person to be in at the moment.