I just finished reading Life Undercover by Amaryllis Fox, a former CIA operative’s story of her life. She worked in a profession as wildly different from mine than anyone I know, yet her riveting story is filled with beautiful writing and wisdom. After living a life as a spy – well, ten years of extraordinary service to our country – she reveals what it was like to assume different identities, to marry a virtual stranger and to have a baby undercover, all while saving American lives through espionage.
Eventually she makes the decision to come back to the US and raise her daughter. The quote I want to share with you comes near the end of her memoir when she’s returned and is visiting her family of origin.
“But time has passed and the grayscale of adulthood has replaced the black-and-white judgments of my youth.”
While my most daring work seems to have been writing my own memoir, I, too, see how my black-and-white judgments of youth have softened into grays over time. Are you able to get perspective on your own life, work and family, enough to see that those strong feeligs are more a reflection of your own growth and development than of the actual circumstances you believe created them? I love how the books I read and listen to trumpet back to me the latest lessons I’m learning in my own life.
While riding in a taxi in Pakistan, Fox saw a sticker on the back of the driver’s seat, written in English that read, “Remember the other person is you.” One of the most humbling phrases I’ve learned in my own growth and development over the decades is a variation on that theme: You spot it, you got it.
What have your eyes and ears opened to lately?