At 6:47 this morning I woke up to the ding ding dinging of my phone. Someone was frantically texting me. My first thoughts were that it was either one of my children, one of my patients in crisis, or a group text to make plans for the weekend. I blearily rolled over, sleepily picked up my phone and looked to make sure that it wasn’t an emergency. It wasn’t. It was a series of poems about the rain from someone that I had been talking to on a dating site and had not yet met. My first reaction was to roll my eyes in irritation. Really? I don’t even know you and you’re already sending me poetry? And in French? And before 7 AM? I put down my phone, got out of bed and continued with my day. But as I was reading my morning paper and drinking my coffee the poem stayed with me. I thought to myself, why was this so annoying to me? What meaning did I attribute to some stranger sending me a poem? So, like I do with my patients I decided to slow down my thought process and see if I could make any sense of this reaction.
My first thought was that poetry is a very intimate thing to share and sharing something so intimate with someone you do not know has a real disconnect to it. But then I started to think about the content of the poem and the reality was that it was not an intimate poem at all. It was about the rain. So why send it? Well the answer was obvious. This person was thinking about me and looking forward to meeting me. That’s not a bad thing. This was his way of connecting before we actually met. At that moment I remembered there was actually a person on the other end of the phone who had expectations and hopes for the person that he was going to be meeting. Sam, have a little empathy for the guy. After all, he is trying.
The minute I said those words, my protective self came right back in. What if he sends this poem to everyone he is dating? What if he sent twenty of the same poem to twenty different women? Why is he sending it so early in the morning? What’s with the French?
Here was my answer to myself. Who cares? You do not know him. And the only way you will is to just show up. By asking all of these protective questions you are already setting yourself up for disappointment. “OK,” I continued to tell myself. “Just show up.”
“Lovely…thanks for sharing” was my reply. Just enough to keep the ball in the air.