This is a delightful example of completing the picture; the procedure of relating both or all sides of a shared experience. It creates clarity, provides learning opportunities and enhances the connection between people. I shared two meals with Karaj and it was only a fortuitous mistake with the second meal which led to us revealing our respective thoughts from the first. To begin with, here is my side of the story:
When we ate together on the first evening, I served myself from the main dish using the small serving spoon Karaj had provided. Unfortunately, when I helped myself to more food, I used the spoon I had been eating with. Touching the food like this meant it should be thrown away. I reprimanded myself silently but decided not to say anything, not wanting to be chastised for such a basic mistake. Maybe Karaj hadn’t noticed. Maybe he had noticed but isn’t so strict. I deliberately took more food, making sure I used the correct spoon, but when Karaj told me to finish off what was left, I naturally assumed it was because, for him, the food was no longer edible.
Two days later we cooked and ate together again. This time Karaj took out an industrial-sized serving spoon. I smiled to myself because I saw it as him making his point very clearly and politely; silently delivering an unambiguous statement with the largest spoon he could find. Not long into the meal, he declared that he’d forgotten to add the olive oil. He grabbed it off the shelf and instructed me to return my half-eaten food to the main bowl.
I couldn’t believe it. My concern from two days ago had been completely unnecessary. Such an instruction meant there was clearly no issue of food contamination for Karaj, and it opened the way for me to raise the subject. As I shared my version of events he laughed out loud, explaining that he had brought out the larger spoon so it was easier to serve the food. The smaller spoon had made him feel miserly, which goes against his generous hospitality and his habitual intention to come from a place of plenty. Which, incidentally, was also the reason why he had told me to finish off the first meal.
The more we shared, the more animated we became. But had he not forgotten the olive oil, we would never have told our stories. Such opportunities regularly pass us by because we are either too polite, too scared or too arrogant to share something of ourselves. We think we are at fault when actually it’s just the way life is. As Karaj highlighted, even if I had raised it and been reprimanded, I raised it. The response is not my problem. By not sharing ourselves, we maintain a distance and miss out on the chance to connect. Connecting with each other brings us closer, nurtures love and, every now and again, generates laughter and excitement.