Do We Know the Difference?: What We Want — What We Need

(Mike DePung — Post 205)

Ego manifests in many ways, some bravado, bragging, brash and some demurring, unsure, insecure and a thousand other ways. Sometimes, ego drives us to achieve certain goals, which can be positive, but those goals may be pursued for the wrong reasons. In such cases, we may end up with what we want but not what we need. Hearts know those deepest needs.

Tonight, I will be developing Anne’s response to her encounter with her boss, Paul Egan. Both of these characters in my novel, The Fellowship of the Heart, engaged in a short but definite ego encounter.

She processes her conversation with her husband, Eric Lafarnge. This will serve as the introduction to his character. I also start supplying some setting details. Of course, none of this may happen, but I have to get a rewrite going some way!

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As Anne approached the gated driveway of the Lafarnge property, she awakened the operations center of the property. The solar and wind power supplies were fully charged, and their micro power plant could have provided enough electricity for half the little town nearest them. Upon activation, the water filtration and refinement system had filled the reservoirs.

Anne was surprised to see Eric’s car in the garage when the overhead door opened. She retrieved her briefcase from the back seat and walked with a mission through the mudroom and into the kitchen. Eric was sitting there in the waning light.

“Why in the hell are you sitting in the dark…and drinking without me?” She reached down and slipped off her shoes. “Would you mind pouring me a glass of the pinot?”

“Sure. I was just going to power up the electric when you kicked on the other systems. Do you want to sit on the deck with me?” Eric rose from the stool at the island countertop and stood in thought for few seconds before reaching into the wine fridge under the counter.

Anne tensed a bit. What is going on with him now? I know better, but here goes. “Something wrong?”

“No, why do you ask?”

“Well, you’re moving slowly and obviously thinking about something else.”

“I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately.” He handed her the glass of pinot noir, and moved toward the large set of double French doors leading to the patio.

In the few seconds it took for both of them to situate themselves in the cushioned teak lounge chairs, Anne began talking. “You wouldn’t believe the little conversation I had with Paul Egan today.”

Why wouldn’t I believe it? You always tell me unbelievable conversations you have at work and you’re never happy about them. “What happened?” Eric stared at the horizon. Damn, why did I say that? She didn’t even ask what I’ve been thinking about.

Anne shifted to face him. Eric stared straight ahead. “Well, Paul made it clear he is backing me for the senior associate position, and he let me know I’m not allowed a moment of indecision or weakness.”

Eric sat with his eyes fixed on the horizon. “He had already discussed this with you. Why is that so shocking or any kind of deal at all?”

“Yes, of course he spoke with me about it, but the point is, Eric, he is giving me specific advice on how to secure the position he’s nominated me for.”

“Oh, I see. That’s pretty big support, isn’t it?”

“It is impressive coming from him. I have some learning to do. No indecision. No weakness. I guess that means I had better not appear to conform to a stereotypical woman. But he said something else.”

Oh, God, what else that’s so important? “What would that be, Anne?”

“He said he really isn’t mentoring me or even helping me. He just wants to ensure he wins, he gets his way over the others. He made it sound like a game. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it when he left my office, but I think he’s modeling the mindset I will need when I’m an associate.”

“Pretty big leap of faith if you ask me. I don’t think he’s that different from Jack or Peter at my firm. They play games with people’s lives. People like me who dream of becoming a partner come to that point only to realize it’s an empty, shallow game. I’m not even sure I would want it now.”

Anne leaned closer to Eric. “How in the hell did this become about you? I’m talking about me being a senior associate.”

Eric turned to look straight into her eyes. “Yeah, like I said, Anne, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately.” Without hesitation, he rose, set his glass in the sink, and headed for the library.

Anne left the deck a minute later, slammed the French door, and opened the refrigerator door.

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Here is my introduction to Eric and the relationship he and Anne have at this time. Egos at play, one yearning for importance and energized by possibilities, the other sounding analytical, dejected, and contemplative of ulterior motives.

I know it has been my experience to hear my heart gradually whispering a soft breeze through my mind until I knew its distinct voice. Until then, I questioned things, much as it appears Eric is doing.

Perhaps this begins the recognition that what we want may not be what we need, and that Heart knows those needs.