Fiona helps Betsy – an 88 year old who lives by herself, and suffers from dementia. When Betsy asked to go to the garden centre, Fiona really wanted to say no – last time it had gone so badly wrong. But Betsy’s mind was made up – and of course she’d forgotten all about last time!
Fiona decided to take it as an opportunity, to use it as a way of developing patience.
So even though Fiona knew the plants weren’t suitable for Betsy’s tiny, shady garden, she let her buy them anyway. Even though she knew Betsy wouldn’t like the lasagne, she let her order it and change her mind later. Even though she knew the ice cream would melt uneaten (and there would be a stain to wash out of a cardigan), she still let Betsy order it.
The trip went much more smoothly. They both enjoyed themselves – even had a bit of a laugh.
This reminds me of a poem (it’s by Sangharakshita, founder of the Triratna Buddhist Order, and to be found in Peace is a Fire.)
Life is King
Hour after hour, day
After day we try
To grasp the Ungraspable, pinpoint
The Unpredictable. Flowers
Wither when touched, ice
Suddenly cracks beneath our feet. Vainly
We try to track birdflight through the sky trace
Dumb fish through deep water, try
To anticipate the earned smile the soft
Try to grasp our own lives. But Life
Slips through our fingers
Like snow. Life
Cannot belong to us. We
Belong to Life. Life