Apart from the obvious things like wanting the figure and style of Audrey Hepburn, the sax-playing talent of Ben Webster, and the writing ability of Helen Dunmore or Nora Ephron, I would like the ability to make small talk.
I can't do it, and it's such a useful social skill to have. It amazes me that Dave as an aspie is so much better at it than I am. He can talk small with the best of them. Why is that? He is generally more talkative than I am but I don't think that's it. He is just very good at 'one-stroke' relationships. I find them unsatisfying and have a tendency to always want to go deeper. That's part of my problem, but not all of it. I just can't think of things to say about superficial trivia. Maybe that's not what small talk is. Any thoughts?
Anyway, in the pursuit of other ideas about how I want to change, I read through all my screenshots of quotes that I have on the iPad and came across two quotes that I've shared with you before. They are not specifically on theme, but at a time when the world appears to be falling apart and I feel powerless to do anything about it, they are encouraging.
|Footpath from Burtersett to Hawes|
photo by Rosemary Mann
The second quote is from Andrew Boyd:
You are faced with a stark choice: do you dedicate yourself to an impossible cause? or do you look after your own, making do as best you can?
The choice is clear: You must dedicate yourself to an impossible cause. Why? Because we are all incurable. Because solidarity is a form of tenderness. Because the simple act of caring for the world is itself a victory. Take a stand – not because it will lead to anything, but because it is the right thing to do. We never know what can or can’t be done; only what must be done. Let us do it.
And pursuing this theme of tenderness, I found a report about the Pope speaking at a TED conference last year, in which he said: “Tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women. Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility.”
This concept of tenderness brought me to this quote from the early Quaker, Isaac Penington, which I have so often found helpful: