You come to expect how people will react, what they'll do.
The longer you live, the more people you meet, the more confident you become in knowing what to expect. Jaded is kind of the right word to describe it, but unfortunately it has a pejorative flavour that doesn't fit at all here.
Occasionally you meet a flamboyant person who surprises, but then you realize that they're flamboyant, and the initial shimmer of difference fades as you pigeonhole them. Once flamboyant, regularly flamboyant, they're just flamboyant. That's how it is.
Quite often I accused Bob of being a wizard. I meant that in the Obewan Kenobe, Merlin, Gandolf tradition. OK, I don't believe in pixie dust, or in the 'Poof! I'm here, now I'm not, now I'm here', vein of common wizardry.
Bob could always surprise me. You thought you had his measure, and then he'd surprise you. In a good way. Well... I have to say that his most recent and final surprise was breathtaking, though not in a good way. Suffice to say, he outdid himself. I'll bet he surprised himself.
There's a lesson here. We should all be full of good surprises.
I am also fascinated by presence.
That's not to say I'm any good at it myself.
People who have it are a source of wonder. They are a precious few, and they're far between. You know it when you feel it. I think that what passed in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance for sainthood, was mostly presence in good people. The aura that is represented by the halo is the best way to picture it.
I hasten to add that people with presence are not by any means all saints. Presence cuts both ways. I'm reasonably sure Nero had presence.
People with presence surprise you, because it's so rare. Yet, like the flamboyant individual, while the aura can and does wax and wane, presence is usually, well, present. People who are full of surprises, in a good way, are rarer still.
If you strive to be an exceptionally good human being, strive for presence, and strive to be full of good surprises.
The first step is to listen, to be aware of others' needs and desires. It's not about me, it's about you. The next step is to fulfill a need, grant a wish. Every now and then will do. Be a gift to your family and friends. Be a gift to the people you meet.
It's hard, I'm not good at it. I wish I had presence, I'd like to be a wizard.
I'm very privileged because I've known people with presence (Henry, Pierre, Red) and also a wizard or three (Margaret, Bernard, Bob).
The world needs many more good wizards with presence.
I think I know where the path starts.
Can I take it?
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