I was recovering from the flu and sharing a twin bed with a 5-year-old and a 73 pound dog, so it’s no wonder I couldn’t sleep.
I kept thinking of Pema Chodron telling the story of some folks on a Buddhist retreat. One of the retreat attendants was unpopular due to his general negativity. He was bringing the whole group down.
Finally, the group was out on the grounds of the monastery moving rocks or performing some such act of service and the unpopular guy was in a huff about it and would not stop complaining. He finally got so worked up he stormed off, announcing he’d never return.
When the monk in charge found out about it, he went out and found the man and brought him back.
The monk was paying the guy to be there.
Because of course, the biggest test of one’s ability to practice lovingkindness, a major precept in Buddhism, is to see if you can do it even with people who get under your skin.
So, this little story was playing in my head on a loop that night (as important bits of subconscious have a tendency to do when we are half asleep).
Finally, I drifted deeper and slept until morning.
I woke up before everyone else, and is my habit, I checked email before I was fully awake.
And there I saw a Facebook friend request from a person who is my annoying guy at the monastery.
I closed my eyes for a moment in rueful recognition, shook my head, smiled, and hit “accept.”