“Pray not for a lighter load
But for stronger shoulders.”
– St. Augustine
Signs teach us to anticipate something — be it danger or delight, something foreboding or otherwise — in the very near future. Even a ‘No Entry’ sign as above, captured right next to Il Duomo in the heart of Florence, suggests that this is not a path one should tread lightly; there may be cars, or even bigger obstacles, along the way.
Sometimes signs are not always visible, and this is where one’s inner eye comes in — that is, our own power of perception that could be God-gifted, but usually must be honed through careful observation of what we see, hear, sense, and touch around us. In the pub yesterday about a dozen of my colleagues and I had some drinks after our writing-up seminar. Although it was fun catching up, having to drift from one conversation to another was also incredibly exhausting.
Navigating such social terrains can be tricky: in situations such as this there are waning conversations that could use the injection of an incomer’s fresh presence (feel free to interject yourself here if you are as yet unattached to any other conversation), and there are some that are moving in full swing, any unwelcomed intervention would only induce annoyance. (Try to avoid the latter.) There is a rather specific code of conduct that must be honored here, which one grasps better with increased association in such fields.
Building relationships — be they platonic or romantic — is all about reading these signs. They are not spelled out or spoken verbally through the other’s lips, but manifest in more implicit ways: in the chair they pull from the other table to sit closer to you; in the extra five minutes they choose to stay with you at the expense of their time in the library; in the promise of a next encounter, where as more of your time, effort, self exchanged between the two of you, you may both find yourselves drawing closer and closer to each other.
And when the door is open, you accept the invitation, and go right in.