I was going to the airport at 5.30 am to catch an early morning flight on a cold December morning a few days ago, the first leg of my journey to Calcutta. I was going home to see dad, after almost 5 months, and for the first time since mum’s passing and the subsequent immediate period. Driving to the airport, dropping the car off, checking in and going to the gate – routine things I have done countless times without a thought, seemed heavy and difficult, and I did not want to do them by myself. A friend said she would drop me off and I was glad. As we were leaving, I gave her a cup and said, “Your tea is here, for the road”. She said, “Yours is in the car”. Knowing one another’s habits, and unknown to each other, we each had made two cups of tea that morning, one for the other person. She drove us, I checked in, she parked her car and came inside, we sipped tea, we talked, and hugged a bit, and then it was time for me to go in for security.
As I was waiting at the gate, I thought how it would have been had I done it the usual way. I would have driven in, parked, picked my suitcase and gone in. And of course, I would have made my cup of tea for the road. Even given the state of my mind, none of it would have been a big deal and the end result would have been the same.
However, there was involved here, a switch of view point. In the second case, the individual is self-organized and capable and functional, and things are efficient. In the first, each person, while being self sufficient, looks out for the other, and things have heart. The cup of tea we had that morning was not something we made for ourselves as a matter of function and habit, but because another person was thinking about us. That made all the difference. Whether with a cup of tea or with life, it is what you bring to it from the other person’s view point that forms the center and its heart, not necessarily what you can do for yourself efficiently. An important switch of point of view indeed.