Holy Curiosity

In the story of the Little Prince,

there is a compelling scene in which he

arrives on a new planet and encounters a businessman.

 

We know it’s a businessman because he is counting

he is too busy counting to lift his head in response

to the Little Prince’s greeting.

He is behind his desk working on a huge ledger,

counting, much like this:

 

“Three and two make five. Five and seven make twelve. Twelve and three make fifteen. Fifteen and seven make twenty-two. Twenty-two and six make twenty-eight. Twenty-six and five make thirty-one. Phew! Then that makes five-hundred-and-one-million, six-hundred-twenty-two thousand, seven-hundred-thirty-one.”

 

When he takes a breath, the Little Prince asks:

 

“Five hundred million what?”

 

It is such a simple question isn’t it?

 

But, the man, the one counting only responds

to the Little Prince in this way:

“Eh? Are you still there? Five-hundred-and-one million

I can’t stop…I have so much to do! I am concerned with matters of consequence.

I don’t amuse myself with balderdash. Two and five make seven…”

 

Matters of consequence.

There is he was, behind his desk counting without pause

counting a thing of beauty whose name he could not remember

“The little glittering objects in the sky” he called them.

Stars!

He was counting and recounting stars, gathering them up

by the millions, owning them, banking them in hopes of one day

being rich from selling them.

 

He was tending to matters of consequence.

 

The businessman in this story is by no means unique!

When invited into a moment of human connection

When invited to ponder the little glittering…the stars,

to notice and grow playfully curious about them

He declined. He would lose track of counting.

He would have to stop, break away from his ledger, look up

…take in and behold the “little glittering objects in the sky.”

 

The stuff of dreams…

 

To take them in would mean opening himself up to

learning more…

 

He declined because the matters of consequence to which

he was attending were far too important and could not wait.

All questions were interruptions…

All moments of being invited to engage were “balderdash”

he had no use for the person before him seeking

to be in relationship

 

So it is with all of us sometimes.

 

We are drawn into important tasks and forget

the whole world around us ready for our curious gaze.

 

What if we attended to each other….

To those ordinary encounters and conversations with

intrigue?

 

What if instead of clinging to certainty

we paused and made room for holy curiosity?

 

The poet Rumi writes:

This being human is a guest house

Every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness

Some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all, he says.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,

Because each has been sent

As a guide from beyond.

 

 

Every moment, every interruption, has something to offer

something to teach…

The beauty is in being able to greet each new or familiar arrival

with a learning mind rather than a knowing mind.

 

And, forgive ourselves when we are not able to…

 

What if you had one moment today in which you were

gently interrupted from “tending to matters of

consequence” or in which you encountered the unfamiliar

 

What if you paused and viewed that moment as a guest?

An unexpected visitor from whom you had much to learn.

What questions would you ask?

How would you listen?

How would you choose to be?

 

~ Rev Alicia R. Forde

 

 

 

 


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